v Til rr.tr - I . .
irt. Louden. .\ .
G. STRINGER ROWE.
CHARLES H. KELLY, 2, CASTLE STREET, CITY ROAD, B.C.
AND 66, PATERNOSTEB Bow, B.C.
PiinteU by Ilazell, Watson, & Yiney, Ld., London and Aylesbnry.
ANNIE CALVERT (LAKAI)
IMPERFECT RECORD OP THE LIFE
HER BELOVED FATHER
FIJI AND THE FIJIANS. By THOMAS
WILLIAMS. THE MISSION HISTOBY. By
JAMES CALVERT. Edited by G. STRINGEB
ROWE. Third Edition. Crown 8vo, 5*.
LIFE OP JOHN HUNT, Missionary to
the Cannibals of Fiji. By G. STRINGER
ROWE. Fifth Edition. Crown 8vo, Is. Qd
LIFE OF MARY CALVERT. By
G. STRINGER ROWE. Crown 8vo, 1*.
THE KING AND THE PEOPLE OF
FIJI. Containing a Life of Thakombau,
etc. By the Rev. JOSEPH WATERHOUSE.
Crown 8vo. [Out of Print.
JOEL BULU : The Autobiography of a
Native Minister in the South Seas. Trans-
lated by a Missionary. Ninth Thousand.
Foolscap 8vo, 1*.
LONDON: CHARLES IT. KELLY.
~\T7"HEN the writing of this Memoir was under-
taken it was expected that there would be
material for a much larger book. Having regard
to the extended usefulness of the Biography, it is
hardly to be regretted that this expectation has
not been fulfilled. There is need, however, of
a word of explanation to show why the record
of so full and eventful a life has not been made
It was hoped that an examination of my dear
old friend's journals and other private papers
would yield many particulars besides those which
he himself had made public at many times and
in many places. It was not so. With his know-
ledge and experiences, what a wonderful store of
observation and narrative he might have fur-
nished ! But he was so absolutely given up to
his one great work, that he seldom took account
of those things which lay outside of it. Moreover,
in his noble character there was very little
imagination. He was most admirably and most
provokingly matter-of-fact ; so that, in the years
of his greatest activity, he scarcely stayed to note
the picturesque features of scenes which must
have been strangely rich in the picturesque. His
journals of the eight years spent in South Africa
mention, for months together, only dates, places,
and engagements fulfilled.
The chief events of his Missionary History had
been already told in the published story of the
regeneration of Fiji, wherein, indeed, the chronicle
of his life is largely given. It has caused me some
little embarrassment that the account of the Fiji
Mission was, thirty-five years ago, either written or
put into form by my own hand. Thus, in re-telling
portions of it here, I have been sometimes obliged
to quote or to paraphrase my own words.
It is greatly to be desired that this Biography
may set many upon reading the History of the Fiji
Mission. It is easy of access; and the evidential
value of it on behalf of the Gospel cannot be over-
rated. It covers so large a ground as to be of
commanding importance: and it is so compact as
to present an argument and a witness which can
be seen, in their convincing evidence, at a glance.
All that I myself owe to the friendship of this
my friend, especially in my earlier life, cannot be
disclosed here. Nearly forty years of very close
and loving intimacy gave me to know him well ;
and that knowledge makes me greatly mistrust my
own power to do justice to my subject. Wherever,
in the following pages, it was possible, he has been
allowed to tell his own story.
If this presentment of him and his life's achieve-
ment should stir any to gain for themselves that
Divine Grace which made him the Christian hero
he was, and to give themselves to the high service
in which he fulfilled his course, such result would
recompense me most, as it is surely that which
would have pleased him best.
EARLY DAYS AND PREPARATION.
The Starting-point. Birth. Childhood. Schooling.
Apprenticeship. First Signs of Spiritual Life. Illness
and Decision. Conversion. Beginnings of Christian
Service. Beverley. Sickness. Colchester. Fuller
Blessing. Call to the Ministry. His Offer accepted.
Preparations. Appointed to Fiji. Marriage. Voyage.
Sydney. An Earnest of Success . . . pp. 3 20
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA.
How the Mission in Fiji was begun. Cross and Cargill.
Voyage from Sjdney. Visit to the Friendly Islands.
Arrival in Fiji. Settled at Lakemba. Trading with the
Natives. Language. Pilfering. Native Justice. First
Preaching and Printing. Wreck and Peril of Native
Christians. Voyaging in Fiji. Mbau. Tanoa. Viwa
and Namosimalua. Rewa. Narrow Escape at Moturiki.
The Firstborn. Namuka. Arrival of the Rev. R. B.
Lyth. Left Alone at Lakemba. Lomaloma. Encour-
agements, Self-sown Seed of the Kingdom . pp. 23 51
LAKEMBA AND 0X0.
Planting of the Gospel in Ono. Wai. A Strange Act of
Worship. Josiah. Isaac Ravuata. Progress. An
Appeal. Voyage to Ono. Vatoa. Work at Ono. Safe
Return. Correspondence with Hunt on Sanctification.
The Story of Tovo. Sickness and Depression. Visit of
Rev. John Waterhouse, and Arrival of Rev. Thomas
Williams. Ono Revisited. Faith in the Heathen Gods
failing. Oneata. Chapel Opening. Tangithi's Illness.
Lualala. Visit of King George of Tonga. Lomalomn.
Cannibal Scenes at Somosomo. Sickness. Confessions
of a Priest. A Bad Englishman. Great Work in Ono.
Success at Wathiwathi. First Parting with the
Children. Illness of Mrs. Calvert. Death of Hunt.
Farewell to Lakemba pp. 55 11(5
How the Lord Provided a Printer. Thakombau. War and
its Horrors. Heroism of Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth.
Signs of Success. A Great Grief. Mediation to procure
Peace. Lakemba Revisited. Death of Tanoa. Horrible
Observances. State Visit of Tui Thakau. Hard
Struggle with Cannibalism. Elijah Verani. Thakombau
Lotus. A Great Joy. Narrow Escape at Moturiki.
Another Visit to Lakemba. Great Value of Lyth's
Training Work. Troublous Times. Mediation Work.
End of Cannibalism at Mbau. Visit of King George of
Tonga. A Voyage with the King. Establishment of
Peace, and Spread of Christianity. Leaving Fiji. Call
at Rotumah pp. 119 17.")
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI.
Arrival in England. Woodbridge and Bible Work.
Catholicity. Mission Advocacy. The Call to return to
Fiji. Voyage Out. Arrival at Lakemba. First Mis-
sionary Meetings at Mbau and Viwa. Settled at
Ovalau. Moturiki Revisited. Diplomatic Work.
Eevision and Blind Shem. Visit to Lakemba. Beginning
of the Jubilee Chapel. Presentation of Address.
Rejoicing on account of Great Success. School Feast
at Mbau. Training Institution on Kandavu. Another
Visit to Rotumah. Ordination of Native Ministers.
Farewell Services. Left Fiji . . . .pp. 179208
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA.
Busy Occupation in Australia. Voyage Home. Bromley.
Work for Fiji. For the Bible Society. Offer for Service
in South Africa. Appointment to Bloemfontein.
Arrival. Boers and Natives. Appointed to the Diamond
Fields. New Rush. The Native Problem. His Work
and its Circumstances. Removal to the Transvaal.
Potchefstroom. Return to Kimberley. Address and
Presentation on Leaving. England . . pp. 211 232
THE LATER YEARS.
Torquay. Death of Mrs. Calvert. Should Missionaries be
Married ? Penjerrick. Croydon. Gift to the Mission
Fund. Fijian Jubilee. Bible Pictures. Last Voyage
to Fiji. Journal. Tonga. Fiji. New Zealand. San
Francisco. Across America. New York. Home.
Speech at City Road Chapel. Sevenoaks. Missionary
Conference of 1888. Marriage. Hastings. Bible
Society. Work for Fiji. Conference at Nottingham.
Temperance. Failing Health. Services in Hastings.
Last Public Act. Last Letter. Last Scripture Reading.
Last Illness. Funeral Service. Testimony of the
Rev. John Walton. A Portraiture. Memorial Sketch
by the Rev. William Arthur . . . .pp. 235303
EARLY DAYS AND PEEPARATION.
The Starting-point. Birth. Childhood. Schooling. Appren-
ticeship. First Signs of Spiritual Life. Illness and
Decision. Conversion. Beginnings of Christian Service.
Beverley. Sickness. Colchester. Fuller Blessing. Call to
the Ministry. His Offer accepted. Preparations. Appointed
to Fiji. Marriage. Voyage. Sydney. An Earnest of
EARLY -DAYS AND PREPARATION.
" "TTTHEN, at eighteen years of age, it pleased the
Lord to have mercy upon me, to pardon
all my sins, and give me to know the reality and
blessedness of true religion, I felt that that religion
was the ' one thing needful ' for every soul of man.
I went and talked with my father about it, and my
brothers and sisters, and all with whom I was connected.
It, pleased God to direct me to go into the villages
to read the Scriptures to the people, and exhort
them to turn from sin, and believe in the Lord Jesus
Christ to the saving of their souls ; and ultimately
my way was made plain for going abroad to preach
the Gospel of Christ to the heathen."
About a year after his first return from Fiji, James
Calvert told, before a great assembly in London,
some of the wonderful story of the mission in which
JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
he had taken part, and the above words were his
preface to the history. Since then, how many
thousands in different parts of the world have been
thrilled and stirred by his narrative ! 'And those who
thus heard him recollect how, in most instances, his
opening words were after the manner of these here
quoted from his memorable Exeter Hall speech in
1857. In the history, as he surveyed it, of his
successful life, all things arranged themselves around
the central fact of his own conversion. Through all
his career he looked back to that fact as the starting-
point ; and from year to year, through a long life, all
the witness he bore and the work he wrought was
ever freshly quickened by the unfailing inspiration
of its remembrance.
The life of James Calvert the missionary begins
precisely where he dated it. Of all that happened
before concerning him there is really very little to tell.
When he was born at Pickering, on January 3rd,
1 813, the event acquired no importance from his pedi-
gree or family history. His parents removed a few
months afterwards, carrying their firstborn infant
with them, to Thorpe Basset, near Malton, where
his father became bailiff to George Parker, Esq.,
of Sutton Grange, near Norton, of whom he after-
wards rented the farm on which he lived. Here
several other children were born to him. In this
village James passed his childhood, and was sent, in
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 5
due time, to its National School, where his attendance
was too frequently interrupted by the more urgent
necessity of going to search for a missing sheep, or
by employment in such work as a small boy could do
on the farm, where every hand was busy.
There must have been something winsome and
promising about the lad, for when he was eleven
years old Mr. Parker took him into his own house,
so that he might have the advantage of a good
school at Malton. He always spoke gratefully of the
kindness with which he was treated in this new
home, where he seems to have lived for two years,
and then his schooling came to an end. At the age
of fourteen he was apprenticed to a printer and
bookseller in Malton, becoming, at the same time, a
member of his master's household.
Of his parents he cherished a very loving and
reverent recollection. Judging from his portrait,
which Mr. Calvert prized as one of his home
treasures, the father was after the best type of a
Yorkshire tenant-farmer. That portrait an oil-
painting it may be mentioned here, was carried
about by the son in his far journeyings, and thus
came to be transported from the Wolds to a mission-
house in the South Seas, where it was the object of
the awed wonder of the natives, who gave it the
peculiar salute reserved for a chief, and, in some
instances, brought to it goods for barter. It never
JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
ceased to cause them an uneasy astonishment that
the eyes looked straight at them wherever they
A few fragmentary notes written in after years are
almost the only record which remains of his youth ;
and these notes mark out just one line only, leading
up to the supreme event of his conversion. It is
known that he fulfilled his apprenticeship satis-
factorily, and was very diligent in perfecting himself
in each branch of his master's trade. At an early
part of this period he lost his mother, to whom he
was very closely attached. During her last illness
he walked the five miles out to Thorpe Basset every
night, and walked back to Malt on each morning in
time for his work. At this point there is the
first evidence of strong religious feeling. The lad
was intensely anxious for his mother's salvation ;
and those who were present never forgot how he fell
on his knees beside her death-bed, and pleaded with
God that she might know His pardoning love.
Thus, his love for his mother revealed an inner life
of conviction, which no thought on his own account
had yet brought him to acknowledge.
As a child he had been taken by his parents
to their parish church, but had also with them
occasionally attended the services in the nearest
Methodist chapel. After coming to Malton, he
seems to have gone to the latter more frequently.
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 7
Here, one Sunday evening, he heard the Kev. Joseph
Mortimer preach, and, as he says, was deeply con-
vinced of sin. He tells how he " wept and prayed, and
went into the prayer-meeting in the vestry, and
returned home in great trouble." But, having no
one to counsel and encourage him, and being
associated with sinful companions, he did not yield
to the conviction which had been so deep. Still it
never altogether left him ; and though he did not
wholly resist those who led him into evil, he suffered
frequent distress through the sharp conflict between
his quickened conscience and his habits of sin.
Things went on thus until he was seventeen, when
he had a very severe illness, so severe that he speaks
of being " threatened with death." Then, when he
had but little hope of recovery, he vowed that, if he
should return to life, he would give himself to the
service of God. He got better, and went back to his
work. Restrained by his vow, he refused again to
follow the old influences of evil which had led him
astray. But it was bondage and perpetual weariness to
him. His conscience coerced him, and the obedience
he tried to render was really an unwilling servitude.
He now was regular in his attendance at the Metho-
dist chapel, and, when eighteen, became a member
of the church which worshipped there.
Portions of a diary, copied in his later handwriting,
give in his own words the story of his deliverance.
JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
" April 8th, 1831. Of late I have been much cast
down, and feared for some time that I should not
obtain the pardon of my sins. And a very trying
time is near the races, lists for which we have to
print and much excitement is not easily avoided.
At the prayer-meeting this evening I prayed very
earnestly to the Lord all the time, beseeching Him
to forgive my sins, and save my soul. I have many
times been disappointed ; and now the enemy of my
soul insinuated that I could not obtain any proof of
God's mercy and pardon. But God's promise, ' Ask,
and ye shall receive,' was present to my mind, and
encouraged me. After the meeting I went with a
praying companion to visit an aged woman who was
confined to her room ; and while he was praying for
that devoted woman, I was pleading with God to
have mercy upon me, and save me. And that
evening, in that small room, I beheld Christ with
an eye of faith, as having loved me, and borne my
sins in His own body. I put my trust where God
had laid my only and all-sufficient help. Believing
on my Lord and Saviour, I felt ' my debt was paid,
my soul was free, and I was justified.'
' The opening heavens around me shone
With beams of sacred bliss ;
For Jesus showed His mercy mine,
And whispered, I was His.'
I felt that this was what I had wanted all along ;
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 9
that this salvation fully met my case, and that
nothing else could have done."
Are there far away from all superstitious thinking
omens in the Christian's course ? In this dawn
of a long day of devoted service, was it not, at least,
beautifully fit, and a presage and promise of that
which was to come, that James Calvert's first know-
ledge of " the joy of the Lord " came to him while
he was ministering to that old bedridden saint ? In
loving ministration his Christian life began; and
thus it ran its course and ended.
The next paragraph was evidently written many
years afterwards. It adds to the record of that new
beginning the witness of a long life's hard testing
and manifold experience.
" That was THE EVENT in my life, and it is the
event in any one's life. All the help and mercy
and salvation and blessing required by guilty, de-
praved, helpless man, all are provided in the atone-
ment of Christ, and the gift of the Spirit all are
provided and offered and realised in the salvation
of the Gospel. "What a privilege and comfort to
offer this to any, to all !
" October 25th. The Spirit has wrought mightily
in my soul for some time, convincing me of my need
of a further work of grace, and urging me to seek
full salvation. Keligion is sweet to me. Why not
10 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
enjoy a fulness of blessing ? Shall I divide the rich
grace of God with any other thing ? I dare not. I
thank the Lord for this. Good Lord, help me to
press forward to attain all that it is my privilege
to enjoy. May the world not share my heart at all ;
but may I live to Thy glory, do all Thy will, be a
burning and shining light ! And do Thou be pleased
to convert my relatives and friends, and save us
That closing petition marks the first stirring in
this young heart of the impulse to communicate to
others the good with which he himself had been
richly blessed. From the beginning he obeyed that
impulse; and his way opened, step by step, until
his life passed on into a widening beneficence which
brought good to multitudes. How easily it might
have been otherwise ! In how many cases sad
to think it is far otherwise. That impulse of
loving zeal is not an occasional accident, but a very
instinct of the new life. Every child of God is
born with it. Alas for those who learn how to
resist and check it until it dies away ! And alas for
the kingdom of God, which is hindered in its progress
by the barren selfishness of their religion !
Early in 1832, the young convert, having entered
his twentieth year, began to speak in public of the
grace and truth which had made so great a change
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 11
in his own life ; and shortly afterwards was placed
" on trial " as a local preacher. In the following
year his apprenticeship came to an end, and he
found employment at Beverley. Soon afterwards he
" Several times I have thought that I would not
go out as a preacher. Still I earnestly desire to do
what God wills concerning me. Some ministers and
local preachers at Malton and Beverley have advised
me to continue. The conviction that I ought to
give myself to the work of the ministry increases
upon me. Before any one asked me to preach I was
led to prepare a sort of sermon on ' Kepent ye, and
believe the Gospel.' Whenever I live to God the
impression of my duty to preach is deepest ; and I
have again and again felt Divine assistance in speak-
ing, and have had the consolations of the Holy
Spirit when doing, according to my ability, what I
knew to be my duty. I have to contend with
principalities and powers. The enemy would stop
me. May the Lord direct me, and cause me to do
His will ! "
After remaining a few months in Beverley, he
again became very ill, and was altogether laid aside
for a time. For several years his health had been
far from robust, and gave no promise of the vigorous
and prolonged life that was to follow. He went to
12 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Bridlington to be under the care of the late
Dr. Sandwith. " While quite prostrate," he says,
" I was blessedly happy, and left myself entirely in
God's hands, desiring to glorify Him either by life
or death." During his convalescence he was the
guest, for a short time, of the Rev. Jabez Banks, Vicar
of Bempton, near Bridlington. He does not tell how
this visit came about ; and no information can now
be gleaned concerning it. The only link of con-
nection with young Calvert that can be traced is,
that Mr. Banks was a native of Thorpe Basset, and
thus knew the family there. He is still remembered
in Bempton as an earnest and godly minister.
Calvert says he was " a very devoted man, and
successful. My stay there I much enjoyed."
Having regained his health, he, for the first time,
left Yorkshire, and travelled southwards, engaging
himself to a printer at Colchester. Here he re-
mained for three years, working at his craft, and
on Sundays doing full service in the Essex villages
as a local preacher. The following record belongs
to this period, and marks, as he always reckoned it,
a memorable crisis in his history.
" After my conversion I was much harassed by the
remains of sin, not understanding how sin could
exist in a justified person, nor yet the method of
deliverance from what was such a trouble to me. I
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 13
read various works, and had conversation with
Christian friends, and at length felt my mind
settled on the subject, especially by reading care-
fully the First Epistle to the Thessalonians, who are
highly spoken of as having real Christian experience
in i. 1, 3, 4 : and in iv. 3, 1 read that God's will was
their sanctification ; and then the Apostle prayed
that they might be fully saved, and preserved blame-
less, in v. 23. Still the Lord gave me great trouble
about pride, unbelief, self, and various things that I
felt in my heart contrary to His love ; and I earnestly
sought to be delivered from all evil. While pleading
in my bedroom about a year ago I felt His sanctifying
influence in a special manner ; and I have been able
since that time to love God with all my heart. I trust
I shall live a life of faith on the Son of God, growing
daily in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ."
More than fifty years afterwards, one told, in a
meeting at Hastings, how, in his youth, he was
walking along a country road in Essex on a certain
Sunday, and fell in with a young local preacher, who
spoke to him lovingly and faithfully about his soul ;
" and," said he, " the straight talk of James Calvert
and his sermon that evening were made the means
of my conversion."
During his residence in Essex the conviction
deepened in his mind that he was to give himself
14 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
wholly to the work of the Christian ministry ; and
the May of 1837 found him in the presence of the
London District Meeting as a candidate for this
office. He put himself absolutely at the disposal of
the Wesleyan-Methodist Conference, stating, how-
ever, that his sympathy had been specially quickened
on behalf of the heathen abroad. He pleaded ear-
nestly that he might enjoy the benefit of specific
training in the Theological Institution, which was
then in the third year of its existence in London, at
Hoxton, and that he might pass the years of his
ministerial probation at home, so as to become better
prepared for foreign service.
He took this step with the most solemn deliberation,
but, at the same time, and without any inconsistency,
with great gladness of heart. It caused him much
misgiving as to his own fitness, but not as to any-
thing else, except in one particular. It has already
been told that, as an apprentice, he did his best to
become a skilled craftsman. So afterwards, he liked
his work and therefore put his heart into it. He
was fond of a business life ; and his special calling
had given him a wide opportunity of gaining service-
able business knowledge. He had thus become
expert as a printer and as a bookbinder, and had
also learned the bookselling trade, to which had
been added the work of a branch post-office. Besides
all this, he had considerable experience in the sub-
EARLY DAYS AND PREPARATION. 15
editing of a local newspaper. Now, he looked with
some dismayed questioning at the waste of all this
preparation for a career which he felt impelled to
abandon. He soon discovered that there was no
waste at all ; and, as the years passed on, he learned to
value all his business training as a specially ordained
part of his equipment for his life's higher service.
Already his thoughts were being drawn towards
the missions in which a great part of his life was to
be spent. Letters had recently been published from
the Friendly Islands, where the mission was push-
ing on with great vigour and much success. The
Eev. Peter Turner wrote from Samoa, in the neigh-
bouring group of Navigators' Islands. He had just
entered upon this mission, and was already greatly
encouraged. He urged that a printer, with a fully
furnished press, should be sent out immediately.
Having seen this appeal, the young candidate sug-
gested that his knowledge of the business might
make him serviceable where a printer was required.
He was so far committed in his own purpose to
the career to which he believed himself called, that
he had recently removed to London, and found
employment in the office of the well-known and
learned Methodist printer, James Nichols, and had
gained permission to attend some of the lectures and
classes at the Hoxton Institution. Being convinced
of the immense importance, if he should be sent
16 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
abroad, of gaining some working knowledge of at
least the elements of medicine and surgery, he put
himself under the instruction of a well-qualified
man, who had the good sense not to attempt to
teach him too much ; and also accompanied a friend,
who was studying medicine, to a hospital, where
he got some general outlines of anatomical know-
ledge in the dissecting-room, and some valuable
practical principles of surgery in the operating
theatre. The information thus acquired was of
great service to him and to many others ; and, on
his return from Fiji, he insisted strongly upon the
necessity of giving some specific training of this
kind to all young missionaries.
At the Conference of 1837 he was accepted as a
candidate for the Ministry, and forthwith entered
Hoxton as a resident student. He had been here
but little more than six months when an importunate
appeal came for the immediate reinforcement of the
new mission to the Fijian Islands. This appeal was
widely circulated, and met with a very warm re-
sponse. The people at home sent in special contri-
butions, and strongly urged the Missionary Committee
to despatch the required help at once. The Com-
mittee decided to send two men and a printing press.
With devoted liberality, the widow of Robert Carr
Brackenbury, of Raithby Hall, Lincolnshire, offered
to bear the cost of outfit and passage of John Hunt,
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 17
a young Lincolnshire man, who had been studying
for more than two years at Hoxton, and, with Thomas
Jaggar, was now designated for Fiji. She further
offered to give 50 annually towards his support for
three years if a third man should be sent. The Com-
mittee consented ; and young Calvert was selected
for the post. Thus his college training came to an
untimely end; and throughout his life he greatly
deplored the loss.
Calvert's commission for Fiji reached him on
March 15th, 1838, with instructions to make all
necessary preparations to sail in a month from that
time. Amongst the most important of these pre-
parations was his marriage, in regard to which he
had not even entered into any formal engagement.
He had, a few months before, been introduced into
the home of his friend, Philip Fowler who was
himself shortly to enter the Wesleyan Ministry in
the village of Aston Clinton, in Buckinghamshire,
and had thus formed the acquaintance of Miss Mary
Fowler. Afterwards another visit had been paid,
but no apparent progress had been made towards a
closer intimacy. When, however, the missionary
summons compelled immediate action, and Calvert
hastened down to Aston Clinton to ask Mary Fowler
to become his wife, and to start in a few weeks
for the South Seas, it became evident that a very
important approach to a good understanding had
18 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
already been tacitly effected. She gave her con-
sent ; and, a week later, they were married.
After giving himself to the Lord, James Calvert
never did a better thing for himself or for the
sacred service to which he was committed than
when he gained Mary Fowler for his wife. She was
an earnest Christian, and had devoted herself to
Christian work to the full measure of her oppor-
tunities. She had good health, a bright and in-
domitable spirit, singularly free from selfishness, and
quick with the warmest sympathies. She rejoiced
in enterprise, and held herself cheerfully ready to
undertake toil or incur danger as the call came.
Never once did she encumber her husband's work,
but, by her unsparing self-devotion, her tender
lovingkindness, joined with great natural sagacity
and shrewd good sense, was a source of strength and
joy to him through the greater part of his life.
A few days after the marriage, Mr. Calvert, with
his two companions in the mission, John Hunt, and
Thomas J. Jaggar, was ordained at Hackney ; and
the party embarked at Gravesend on April 28th, on
board the Despatch, Captain Wood, bound for
Sydney. The voyage, which lasted four months
all but five days, was a good one, and without re-
markable incident. They received a warm welcome
and generous hospitality in Sydney ; and the young
missionaries, during the two months they spent in the
EARLY DATS AND PREPARATION. 19
colony, were fully employed in preaching and attend-
ing various meetings, and in getting stores together
for their further voyage and for use in the islands.
The following extract from Mrs. Calvert's Life*
belongs to this period, and shows how thoroughly
Mr. Calvert and his bride were one in the Master's
service, and how He gave them at the very outset of
their united life to taste together the blessedness of
success. In Sydney
" Mr. Calvert had to take an out-door service one
Sunday morning near the Haymarket. With a little
impatience of zeal, as it seemed to some, he began
before the appointed time, and found no congrega-
tion. His young wife accompanied him, and, as
she had often done at home, started the tune of the
opening hymn. Very soon the people gathered to
the sound, and the preacher went on with his work,
his faithful companion standing by and handing
tracts to those who would take them. The next
day a letter came from a gentleman, telling a
strange story. On the Saturday he had landed
from Tasmania, where he had been living a godless
life for many years. At his lodgings, when night
came, he made the discovery that his pocket had
been picked, and about forty pounds stolen. The
shock of finding himself thus penniless and friend-
* Memoir of Mary Calvert, London, 1882.
20 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
less in a strange land excited and aggravated the
misery of a guilty conscience, and he fell into utter
despair ; insomuch that, in the course of a restless
night, he resolved to put an end to his life. In the
morning he sharpened his penknife, and went out
towards the churchyard, intending there to open an
artery in his neck. On his way, the clear, sweet
voice of a singer broke in upon his dark mood like
a holy spell, and he must needs turn aside to listen ;
and the thought formed itself that it would be well
to join in one act of worship before he died. As he
heard song, and prayer, and exhortation, long-
forgotten good came crowding back into his mind
the thought of a Methodist home far away in
London, and his mother, a good class-leader, who
died when he was a boy ; and, receiving a tract, as
he said, ' from the young lady,' he turned away to
face life once more. The reading of the tract
completed his decision to seek after God. When
told afterwards that the preacher he knew not why
had begun the service too soon, he wept, and said.
' If you had not, I should have been a dead man.' "
It would appear that out-door preaching in those
days in Sydney was resented as an innovation ; and
gave rise to a newspaper controversy, in which the
young missionaries were roundly abused on one side,
and warmly defended on the other.
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA.
How the Mission in Fiji was begun. "Cross and Cargill. Voyage
from Sydney. Visit to the Friendly Islands. Arrival in
Fiji. Settled at Lakemba. Trading with the Natives.
Language. Pilfering. Native Justice. First Preaching and
Printing. Wreck and Peril of Native Christians. Voyaging
in Fiji. Mbau. Tanoa. Viwa and Namosimalua. Eewa.
Narrow Escape at Moturiki. The Firstborn. Namuka.
Arrival of the Eev. K. B. Lyth. Left Alone at Lakemba.
Lomaloma. Encouragements. Self-sown Seed of the
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMB A,
AT this point it i$ necessary to tell how things
stood with the new mission to Fiji in 1838.
It had been begun just three years before, and this
is how it came to pass. The important group of the
Friendly Islands, in the South Pacific, had been
occupied by the Wesleyan-Methodist Missionary
Society in 1826, and the work had advanced year
by year with marked success, so that, nine years
after the commencement, there were eight mission-
aries on the ground, and a church had been formed
of more than four thousand members.
The Tongans the name given to the Friendly
Islanders from one of the chief islands of this group
were always bold and skilful navigators, and
voyaged far on those great double canoes which
excited the admiration of Captain Cook, and would
carry nearly a hundred men, besides several tons of
freight. They had long traded with the larger group,
two hundred and fifty miles westward, named Viti,
24 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
or as the Tongans called it, Fiji.* The missionaries
in Tonga thus got to hear much about Fiji and its
inhabitants ; and what they heard was about as
terrible a story as could be told of savagery grown to
hideous proportions among a strong, able, and in-
telligent people. Cannibalism, with all its attendant
horrors of murderous outrage, was an established
institution, having its exact code of rule and observ-
ance. Wars were frequent, and the strangling of
widows and destruction of infants were practices of
To the little mission band, who had surmounted
the first difficulties of their work in Tonga, there
was nothing to attract in the forbidding picture thus
set before them, except the urgent claims of the
people's own immense want. This claim they
speedily acknowledged, never doubting that they
were called to challenge the hitherto undisturbed
rule of darkness in Fiji. The very significant fact,
however, must not be forgotten, that the first work
of the Gospel in Fiji, though feeble and imperfect,
was done by Tongan Christians. Of the many
Tongans who voyaged to the other group, and were
sometimes compelled by persistent adverse winds to
* It is now universally known by this name, although,
curiously enough, the sounds represented by the first and
third letters of the word do not exist in the language of the
Viti people themselves.
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 25
stay there for months together, some were converts ;
and they carried with them, and made known the
truth which had brought blessing to them and their
own land. By the help of these, on their return
home, and by intercourse with Fijian sailors, the
missionaries gained an elementary knowledge of the
language sufficient to eDable them to take the first
steps towards giving it a written form. Not only was
an alphabet thus provided, but a " First Book " of four
pages was printed, and a simple catechism prepared.
This provisional work, alphabet and all, had, of
course, to be revised afterwards in the light of
The mission staff was all too small to meet the fast-
growing demands of the work in the Friendly Islands,
which had just been rapidly extended by a wonderful
visitation of power, followed by the conversion of
thousands, including the supreme chief, King George,
and his queen. At the close of 1834, the year of this
great revival, the District Meeting resolved to set
apart two missionaries at once to enter upon the
new mission to Fiji ; but it was not until October
of the following year that the Eev. William Cross
and the Kev. David Cargill, with their wives
and little children, landed at Lakemba, the island
nearest to Tonga, where, among the large number
of Tongan immigrants, and because of the fact that
the language of these was more or less familiar to
26 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
many of the islanders, it was possible to begin work
The history of the first three years of the mission
is of thrilling interest. The leaders of it suffered
greatly from sickness and want. They endured at
times active persecution ; and certainly, to them,
increase of knowledge of their surroundings brought
increase of sorrow. The enormous difficulties of the
work seemed to them now far greater than when
they first took it up. But they never faltered ; and
such success was won that their hopes were larger
and more confident than ever.
This, then, was the state of affairs in 1838. Here
was an archipelago stretching about 300 miles from
north to south, and the same distance from east to
west, containing some 80 inhabited islands, for
the most part very small, but with two of considerable
size Viti Levu having an area of 4,112 square
miles, and Vanua Levu 2,432. The population of
the whole group was about 130,000. They seem
never to have been idolaters in the sense of
attempting to represent their gods in material
.form. Certain stones, however, and certain birds
and other animals were specially reverenced as, in
some vague way, enshrining deities. Most of their
gods were strictly local, and had temples where
offerings were presented, and priests who exercised
a very real power over the people. The system of
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 27
government was essentially feudal. The local chiefs,
holding well-defined grades of varying rank, were
tributary to certain greater chiefs or kings; and
at the time now described the supreme power was
being steadily gathered into the hands of one man,
Tanoa, whose son, the late Thakombau, ceded the
group to Great Britain in 1874. Near to the royal
town of this potentate, in the west or leeward part
of the group, Mr. Cross had gone to live, so that the
mission had two centres, one at Lakemba on the
east, and another about 200 miles to the west, at
Eewa, on the south-east of Viti Levu, or Great
Our missionary party in Sydney found that the
work of collecting and packing goods and articles
for barter was no light business, for it was impossible
to foresee when the next supplies would reach them,
as communication with the islands was very un-
certain. Their passage was taken on board a small
schooner, which proved to be a wretched craft, badly
found, and showing more capacity for pitching and
rolling, even when there was but little wind, than
for making headway when the weather was most
favourable. They had a good start, however; for
there was leaving Sydney, on the same day, the Kev.
John Williams, of the London Society, accompanied
by a band of nine missionaries. In little more than
a year afterwards this veteran was killed and eaten
28 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
at Erromanga ; but no foreboding clouded the joy of
that day, when, on board the steamer which took
them down to the Sydney Heads, both companies
joined in praise and prayer, and cheerily bade one
another Godspeed. Then followed twenty-six days
of misery. Yet our party managed on each of the
three Sundays to hold religious services on board,
and all three missionaries preached in turn.
It was a wonderful refreshment and rest to get
ashore for a little while at Tonga, where they had
the warm welcome which, perhaps, only such
circumstances could occasion, from the mission band
in the islands. Here the young voyagers had their
first sight of Polynesian scenery and life; and
here, too, they were put in good heart by seeing
a great Christian victory already won a plentiful
harvest following twelve years of work and waiting.
The king's canoe was sent to bring the ladies ashore ;
and this was but one of many tokens telling how
great a change had come to pass. But, most
impressive of all, before they left the group, they
heard the king himself preach to a congregation of
his people. Not a word of the fluent and quietly
earnest sermon could they understand, but they
knew that his text was our Lord's saying, " No man
can serve two masters," with the following counsel :
"Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for
your life," on to the end of the verse.
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 29
The stores which they had brought for the Tonga
mission were all landed ; and the captain of the
Letitia was anxious to complete his somewhat risky
voyage. But, detained by foul winds and calms,
they were yet three weeks before they got clear of
the Friendly Islands. On the fourth day after
leaving they had the first sight of Lakemba, the
easternmost of the larger islands of the group, about
which, for some months past, they had daily
thought, and talked, and prayed, imagining and
wondering many things concerning this the destined
scene of their life's work. Early on Saturday
afternoon, December 22nd, 1838, the Letitia came
to anchor. Mr. Cargill, in the little mission-house
on the western side of the island, knew nothing of
their arrival; and the three missionaries, leaving
their wives on board, went ashore in the ship's boat,
and walked across the island, thus bringing the
first news of their coming. When the news reached
him, Mr. Cargill was shaving ; and, in his eagerness,
suspended the operation, and appeared half shaven to
greet them. It need not be told with what warmth
of loving welcome they were received, nor how all
joined together in fervent praise to God. On the
next day, Sunday, the ladies disembarked, and the
united mission band, in that house " where prayer
was wont to be made," joined in Divine worship, Mr.
Hunt being the preacher. Then followed a busy
30 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
week, getting ashore, and stowing away goods and
stores and the printing press and all its belongings.
A District Meeting was held, after which Mr. and Mrs.
Hunt left to join Mr. Cross at Kewa, in the far west
of the group. Houses also had to be prepared ; but
every one worked with a will, and such rapid progress
was made, that on the fourth day of the New Year
Mr. Calvert was able to write the brief entry in his
journal, " Commenced housekeeping." The residence
which he thus began was expected to be but long
enough to give him opportunity to gain some
command of the language, as he had consented, at
the request of his brethren, to open an entirely new
station, at Somosomo, a town of great importance
on an island on the north of the group. This
arrangement, however, was never carried out; and,
little as he expected it, he was to remain upon
Lakemba for nearly ten years.
The conditions of housekeeping in Fiji, in those
early days, were strange, and some of them very
troublesome to the young mission band. That all
payments were made in articles of barter was, at
first, not a little perplexing ; but it had its points
of interest, and, above all, it gave constant oppor-
tunities for very direct intercourse with the people,
and the daily gathering of words and phrases used in
common speech. In this process Mr. Calvert, from
the beginning, proved to be very expert. Some
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 31
members of the mission carefully built up a scien-
tific knowledge of the Fijian tongue ; but he, with-
out philosophic hesitation or questioning, caught
by ear the beautiful language, with its open syllables,
and wealth of rich, full vowels and picturesque ex-
pressions, direct from the lips of the people, and thus
gained very early the power of conversing with them,
and in a few years had a ready mastery of their
vernacular, in which he has never been excelled.
Another marked feature of the new life was far
less interesting; the people soon gave very un-
welcome evidence that, besides other virtues, they
sadly lacked honesty. The missionaries could not
but admire the wonderful skill with which men,
whose dress was an almost irreducible minimum,
succeeded in secreting and carrying away little
articles of no great value in themselves, but very im-
portant where it was impossible to replace them. But
the theft of their only two kettles, where no other
kettles could be obtained, was no small domestic
calamity. One night, a wall of one of the houses
a wall, it should be said, constructed in native fashion
of reeds was cut through, and a large number of
articles of clothing were stolen. The morning dis-
closed not only this serious loss, but a heap of stones
placed in readiness for an attack if the inmates had
been disturbed. When things came to this pass it
seemed time to appeal to the principal chief, or king,
32 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Tui Nayau, who had promised that the persons and
property of the missionaries should be protected.
Mr. Cargill and Mr. Calvert, therefore, waited upon
him, and represented that their love to him and his
people was great, and their only wish in coming to
Lakemba and remaining in his dominions was to be
useful to him and his people, by teaching them the
commands of the true God, so that they might be
blessed here and hereafter. The king replied : " I
am ashamed because of the covetousness and dis-
honesty of my people ; they have acted very ill ; but be
of good mind, until I search for the stolen property ;
and if the very articles cannot be found I will cause
a recompense to be made for them." A few days
afterwards, the king's brother and several other chiefs
came, bringing back a very few of the things stolen,
and, as recompense for the rest, the top joints of four
little fingers, which, according to Fijian custom, had
been cut off, not from the culprits themselves, but
from their children ! When the missionaries ex-
pressed their deep regret at this cruelty, they were
told, "It is one of the ways in which we punish
criminals ; and we hope you will be of good mind,
that we may live together in peace." It need not be
said that this experience of the crooked severity of
native justice made the missionaries determine to
put up with a great deal of loss and trouble before
they again invoked its interference.
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKE MB A. 33
Mr. Calvert and his young wife set themselves to
teach the people, by example, forbearance, and a love
which refused to be provoked to any retaliation. At
first this altogether new thing was wholly misunder-
stood ; but kind offices readily rendered to the
suffering, and friendly visiting of the people in their
own houses, at last won their confidence, and slowly
awakened kindly feelings in return, so that, a few
months afterwards, Mr. Calvert wrote, perhaps too
hopefully, "We are now free from robberies and
insult, and live in great peace. Your missionaries
and cause are respected by the chiefs and natives,
so that the mission appears to have obtained a firm
and permanent establishment here."
During the first weeks of their residence, the new
missionaries had experience of another too frequent
peculiarity of life in Fiji. A fierce hurricane swept
over the island, and greatly damaged the houses of
the mission, carrying away altogether some of the
outbuildings. This made necessary immediate
repairs and rebuilding; and as a place had to be
provided for the printing-press, Mr. Calvert accom-
panied Mr. Cargill to obtain posts for building.
They applied to a chief of high rank who had some
ready cut, but were met by a direct refusal. He
told them that the posts were prepared for a temple,
and, as the gods had seen them, he dared not let
them go, for fear that the gods should eat him.
84 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
It was but three months after his coming that
Calvert began to preach. No doubt his broken
Fijian sounded strange to his hearers ; but the very
earnestness of the man would not let him delay.
He was well content to suffer for a time the discredit
of speaking badly rather than not begin to speak
the great message of which his heart was full. So
he kept on, blundering much, but adding day by
day to his stock of words and phrases. In later
years, when he had opportunities of seeing mission
work elsewhere, he thankfully recognised how much
they owed of their success in Fiji to the fact that
at the beginning of their enterprise there was no
chance of their falling into the temptation to speak
Calvert had fully reckoned upon being employed
in working the press. One of his colleagues, how-
ever, understood printing, and, after a good deal of
deliberation, it was decided that the press should be
set up at Rewa. The result fully justified this policy.
Kewa was near to Mbau, which was gaining more
and more of a metropolitan rank in the group ; and
it was found highly expedient to adopt the dialect of
the language spoken in that district as the literary
standard. Already Cross and Cargill, the latter
of whom was a man of good culture, had effected
some translations, which, however imperfect, were of
great service at the time; and as early as March
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 35
1839, 840 copies of a First Catechism were issued
from the mission press at Rewa, followed, soon after,
by the Gospel according to St. Mark.
About the same time a thing happened which
disclosed some important peculiarities of Fijian
custom. A chief and nine men, all Christians, were
wrecked, and, after swimming a great distance,
landed on an uninhabited island some two miles
away from Lakemba. Here their peril was by no
means at an end. They had no way of escape,
and they dreaded discovery; for custom prescribed
that all wrecked persons who came ashore should be
put to death and eaten. One of them, however, at
last ventured to swim across to Lakemba. Twice
he returned, overcome by fear of the fate which
threatened him. The third time he finished the
journey, and landed unobserved. Soon afterwards
he met some of the people, who, seeing his drenched
condition, questioned him. The poor fellow's terror
was too much for his newly awakened conscience, and
he invented some story of having put clay on his
head, and having gone into the sea to wash it off,
that this happened at a distant place, from which he
had swum all the way. As soon as he could, he told
into friendly ears the secret of his companions'
danger, and three canoes were forthwith sent off to
fetch them. But their rescue proved to be difficult ;
for, in their fear, they had cut for themselves clubs
36 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
with an axe which one of them had saved, and had
then betaken themselves to the top of a hill for
safety. At last they recognised their friends, and
were brought to Lakemba. Their escape was, in all
respects, a wonderful event. It was no small thing
that, in the case of these Christians, a horrible usage
had not been carried out. Herein already was some
token of hope that the old savagery would yield to
the truth. But, besides this, the danger of the
saved men had been desperate. They were six
hours in the water, swimming and supporting them-
selves on pieces of wreckage. And it surely was a
beautiful thing, and a marvel in Fiji, that, during
those hours of peril and weariness, the sincerity of
their faith and love was shown in that nine times
they gathered all together as they floated, and
joined in prayer; and when one of their number
became exhausted they collected the pieces of wood
which supported them that he might rest upon
them. The seed of the Gospel was already be-
ginning to bring forth fruit after its kind.
Shortly after this Mr. Calvert had his first ex-
perience of voyaging amongst the islands. The
missionaries had been waiting some time to visit
the island of Ono, about one hundred and fifty miles
away, at the extreme south of the group. The
marvellous story of the coming and the spread of
the Gospel here will be told later on. It is sufficient
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 37
now to say that, without having seen a missionary,
nearly all the inhabitants had become Christians,
and earnestly begged for a visit that they might
receive the sacraments, and be married with religious
rites. At the beginning of May an opportunity
seemed to offer, in the arrival of a small schooner
belonging to some white people at Levuka. A
passage was engaged, but, the wind being unfavour-
able, it was resolved to sail to Kewa first, one
hundred and twenty miles westward, and visit the
brethren, Cross and Hunt, to consult with them
about future plans. Full particulars of this journey
of Cargill and Calvert are given as furnishing a
fair specimen of Fijian travel in those days and for
many years afterwards; and as introducing certain
important actors in the history of the time.
On the evening of the day after starting they
reached Nukulau, a little islet six miles off Rewa,
which is on the great island of Viti Levu, or Great
Fiji. They sent off a letter to the mission station,
and at midnight Mr. Hunt arrived in a small canoe,
in which they accompanied him to Rewa, getting
there about three in the morning. On that day,
Sunday, Mr. Cargill preached in a chief's house to
fifty people, and Mr. Calvert conducted an English
service with the members of the mission. On the
next morning they set out at three o'clock, in a
small and rickety canoe, to visit Mbau, a little
38 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
island scarcely separated from the mainland of
Great Fiji, and containing what was virtually the
metropolis of Fiji. The journey of about twenty
miles was accomplished by 11 A.M. They were
received very kindly by the old king, Tanoa, the
highest chief in the entire group, whom Mr. Cargill
describes. It may be added here that this chief
lived and died a cannibal and a strict upholder of
the worst customs of the people, although acting,
for the most part, in a friendly way towards the
" Tanoa, the King of Mbau, appears to be on the
verge of seventy. He is tall and slender in his
person, and forbidding in his aspect. His eye still
retains considerable lustre and keenness. The hair
of his head is closely shaven ; his beard is bushy and
long. Age and infirmity have made them white,
but, through a desire to appear young, his head, face,
beard, and breast, are generally daubed with an earth
which produces a jet black colour. On the back of
his head, and near his right ear, are two fearful scars,
caused by the blows of a club which was wielded by
the arm of his brother, Naulivou, the late King of
Mbau, in an attempt to kill Tanoa. His conduct to
us was kind and respectful, and his conversation
cheerful. He presented us with a fine large hog.
His house is incomparably the largest and best that
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 39
I have ever seen in the South Sea Islands. The
workmanship displays great ingenuity. Its length
is one hundred and thirty-five feet, and its width
forty-two feet. His son, Sera [afterwards called
Thakombau], is not by any means prepossessing in
his appearance and manners. He will probably be
his father's successor in the government of Mbau.
"While in Tanoa's house, we met with the King and
Queen of Eewa. They are both of princely aspect
and agreeable manners." The site was visited which
the king had given to Mr. Cross for the mission,
with a promise to build a mission-house for them
a promise which remained long unfulfilled. Then
they set out for Viwa, another small island just
off the coast, about two miles away, and the chief
of which, Namosimalua, had become a Christian.
" Such a remarkable man as Namosimalua, the
Viwan chief, deserves more particular mention. In
all the Fijian wars of his time he had taken an
active part, and his great shrewdness and foresight
made him the very Ulysses of the conspirators in
the great rebellion. It was he who gave the counsel
to kill the old king's stripling son (Thakombau),
who afterwards proved the prudence of the advice
by crushing the whole revolt. When Tanoa fled,
Namosimalua was chosen to pursue him, receiving
as a reward Vatea, a young lady of rank, niece of
40 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
the king, together with six whale's teeth. He, with
his party, reached the island of Koro, while Tanoa
was then on his flight to Somosomo. Namosi had a
plan of his own, and, instead of going at once where
he had reason to believe that the king was, landed
at another part of the island. While his people
were eager to carry on the pursuit, he delayed them
by preparing food, and assuring them that the next
day would be soon enough. In the meantime he
secretly sent a message to Tanoa, warning him of
his danger ; and when, in the morning, he and his
followers renewed the chase, they saw the king
sailing away out of their reach towards Somosomo,
where he would soon be safe among his relatives.
Keturning to Mbau with a show of great chagrin,
Namosi asked for a fleet in which he might at once
sail to Somosomo, and demand the person of the
fugitive king. With a large party he went, and, as
he fully expected, got nothing but a flat refusal.
He had, however, accomplished his own object. He
had convinced the other rebel chiefs of his devotion
to their cause, while he gained the friendship of the
king, which was to serve him well when matters
took a turn. When Thakombau overcame the re-
bellion and brought his father back, Namosi was
spared, while the other revolted chiefs fell; and
Tanoa would never consent to his death, much as it
was urged by Thakombau, who could not forget the
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKE MB A. 41
advice given that he himself should be slain.
Many, though astonished at Namosi's escape, re-
mained ignorant of the secret cause of Tanoa's
friendship for him. Thakombau never forgave him ;
and fifteen years afterwards Mr. Calvert had to
plead hard that the chiefs life might be spared.
When Namosimalua died, Thakombau exclaimed,
' There ! you have escaped without the club falling
on your head ! ' ' (Fiji and the Fijians, p. 409.)
Such was the man, and such, in part, was his
record, who had declared to Mr. Cross his intention
to become Christian, for which step he had Tanoa's
full sanction. It is no wonder that, knowing the
character of the man for craftiness and deception,
Mr. Cross distrusted his proposal, suspecting motives
of very questionable policy. But, after a time, the
genuineness of the chief's reformation could be no
longer doubted ; and he continued to show great
earnestness in seeking and receiving religious in-
struction. His conduct remained blameless. Before
building his own house, he had set up a large and
beautiful chapel upon a hill in Viwa.
" His principal wife," says Mr. Cargill, " is a person
of very high rank, and is very interesting in her
appearance and manners. She has made consider-
able progress in reading. I had the pleasure of
12 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
preaching in the new chapel to the young converts.
They listened with much attention. As Namosi-
malua was about to sail for another island, to transact
some business for Tanoa, he requested GO be favoured
with a teacher, who might accompany and instruct
him. This appeared to me a strong proof of his
sincerity. He is ' not ashamed of the Gospel of
Mr. Calvert and his companion started in their
crazy little canoe for Rewa, a nearly twenty miles'
journey, with a strong contrary wind and a rough
sea. The men worked hard, and were all but ex-
hausted when, at midnight, they reached a point on
the Rewa river about eight miles from the town.
Here the missionaries landed to walk the rest of the
distance, " which," writes Mr. Calvert, " was even
more difficult than going in our canoe ; for the way
was very bad and slippery, and our guide was not
well acquainted with it. We fell down many times,
and at length got another man to accompany us
at a village through which we passed. We arrived
at Rewa about three o'clock." Here they remained
for two days in consultation about the affairs of the
mission, and spent another Sunday. On the Monday
they embarked once more on the schooner, and
during the next ten days attempted again and again
to get away, but were prevented by the weather.
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 43
At last the wind fell, and was fair for the journey to
Ono; but a few hours afterwards it changed and
rose, so that they were driven back. In the night
the gale became furious, and there seemed but
little chance of the vessel weathering it. Day broke,
and made their danger the more apparent.
" No land," wrote Mr. Cargill, " was in sight, and
the sailors did not know where we were. About
11 A.M. land appeared on the larboard side of the
vessel. We endeavoured to sail for it, but found
ourselves separated from it by an extensive reef.
The sailors, being apprehensive of not being able to
weather the reef, spoke of running the vessel upon
it, and keep it from swamping in deep water, and
thus, if possible, to save our lives. In a few minutes
another island appeared in sight, and, with the
blessing of God on the vigorous exertions of the
sailors, we succeeded in getting to the inside of the
reef which surrounds the island about 2 P.M. The
water in the inside of the reef was deep and com-
paratively smooth, so that we sailed in safety. The
name of the island is Moturiki ; it is in the imme-
diate vicinity of Ovalau, and is subject to Tanoa. We
sailed into a small bay in Moturiki, with the inten-
tion of casting anchor, and of remaining there until
the storm should abate ; but, the men not being
well acquainted with the bay, the vessel ran aground,
44 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
and, with all our exertions, we could not succeed in
getting it into deep water. About four, the natives,
seeing her lying on the reef, came off to us, with
the intention, as we supposed, of plundering us ; for
it is a custom which prevails throughout Fiji, and is a
dictate of their religion, to plunder the shipwrecked.
They invited us to go and sleep in their houses,
stating that the vessel was in a very bad condition,
and would probably never float again. They pro-
posed to take all the property out of her, in order to
lighten her, and used every artifice to induce us to
abandon her. But, finding their efforts unavailing,
they at length reluctantly left us. About high-
water, after midnight, they returned in a canoe, and
maintained unbroken silence. They approached
very near to the vessel, but, finding it afloat, re-
turned without speaking a word. Thus Providence
watched over us, and rescued us from the designs of
avaricious and wicked men."
Fifteen years later, Mr. Calvert was in far greater
peril on that same shore of Moturiki, and was
wonderfully delivered. Now, after repairing the
rudder, which had been injured in running aground,
they once more got under way, the natives shouting
and beating the sand and water with their clubs.
On account of the heavy weather they kept within
the enclosure of the great reef, and came to anchor
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION-LAKEMBA. 45
in a bay of the island of Ovalau. Here they landed,
and, with ten of the crew and ten natives, walked
eight miles to the town of Levuka, the place where
the white settlers lived, and where the schooner had
been built. Here, being kindly treated by the
white men, they were kept by stress of weather for
thirteen days, after which they sailed for home, and,
early on the morning of the third day, landed once
more at Lakemba. Their long absence had been
altogether unexpected, and Mr. Calvert's anxiety on
account of his wife had been extreme. Good Mrs.
Cargill well understood his trouble, and before they
could get ashore called out to him the good news
that he was a father, and that all was going well at
the mission-house, where the whole mission party
forthwith assembled, to join in a service of grateful
On Sunday, June 23rd, Mr. Cal vert writes :
" Preached in English in our house this evening^
Our dear child was baptised to-day. Her name is
Mary. She is only three weeks old this evening.
About forty Fijians and Tongans were baptised at
the same time. We held a Lovefeast in the after-
noon. We had a very good day. Seventy spoke.
" June 27th. Sailed for Nanuka, fifty miles dis-
tant, in a native canoe. The wind became contrary,
and we did not arrive until the following day.
46 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
" June 30th. Baptised ten adults and six children,
and preached twice. The people are steady in their
profession of Christianity, but ignorant, having spent
their early days in heathenism.
" On visiting the heathen chief, who is the am-
bassador of this place to Lakemba, I found him
lying on a mat very ill. I talked to him some time
about Christianity. He said that it was very good,
and that he should become religious when the chief
of Lakemba did. I showed him the folly of deter-
mining to do wrong because others did, and urged
him not to delay, but to seek preparation for meet-
ing the King of kings, and Lord of lords. However,
my entreaties did not produce the desired effect ;
yet I trust that they will be as bread cast upon the
waters, found after many days. I offered to him some
medicine. He refused to take it, saying he was
afraid it would kill him. I told him that it would
have been easy for me to do injury in my own
country ; and it would, therefore, have been unwise
and unnecessary for me to leave all the blessings of
England, endure all the privations and sufferings of
a long sea voyage, and a residence in a heathen
land, for that purpose; that my only design in
coming to Fiji was to do good to the bodies and
souls of men. I at length prevailed upon him to
take some medicine. When I called upon him the
following day he was up, and was very thankful for
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 47
the benefit which he had received from the medicine,
and wished to have some more. He presented me
with a neat, good, and useful mat, as a token of love
and gratitude. On the next day, on returning to
the native house in which I was residing, I was
surprised to find that he had provided a feast for
me, and had sent a large quantity of cooked food."
. On his return to Lakemba Mr. Calvert found
that long-expected reinforcements had arrived. Mr.
Lyth and Mr. Spinney had been transferred from
the Friendly Islands ; but the latter was in such ill
health that it was evident that he must hasten to
New South Wales, where he died a few months later.
It thus became necessary to revise the plans which
had been made for the distribution of the mission
forces ; and it was decided that Mr. Calvert should
remain alone at Lakemba. "This," he says,
" appeared to me a very formidable undertaking,
that I, with only a partial knowledge of the language,
should be the only missionary at this station, which
is at least a hundred and twenty miles from
Somosomo, and more than that from Rewa and
Mbau. However, as it appeared to me that the
present cheering prospects of our mission in the
good openings here demanded such a sacrifice at
some person's hands, I was perfectly willing to make
that sacrifice if the District meeting should so
48 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
resolve. May the Lord, whose I am, and whom I
serve, undertake for me and bless me in this great
Two days later all the rest of the mission party
had left, and he writes, " We are left alone in this
land of heathenism and thieves." With all the
work of the mission on their hands the young
missionary and his wife had, just at this time, a
fresh tax on their time and strength in the
appearance of influenza among the people, brought,
it was believed, by an English vessel. Many were
ill, and much work was done in looking after them
and administering medicines. In the midst of this
came very welcome cheer in the arrival of a canoe
from Vavau, bringing ten Christian Tongans, with
their wives and children. These men had come to
help in the Fiji mission, and were at once despatched
to different places to begin their work.
Having heard that two persons had become
Christians at a town called Nasaugalu, Mr. Calvert
waited on the king and his brother to beg of them
that no hindrance should be put in the way of these
or of others in the Lakemba territories who should
become converts. He obtained a somewhat cold and
hesitating assent to his request ; but was pleased
when the king's brother, who was notoriously
opposed to Christianity, admitted that it was a very
good thing. The next day Calvert went to the place
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKE MB A. 49
and was greatly disappointed to find that one of
the reported converts was dead, and no other could
be heard of. On his way back he met two of the
king's wives, who were going with a message to the
people of Nasaugalu, that if they became Christians
they must find a home elsewhere. He records his
sorrow, and then plucks up courage again, as he
enters in his journal, " The Lord reigneth ; and
therefore, in the midst of opposition and dis-
couraging circumstances, we are glad." Two days
later, he writes :
" Preached at Nukunuku and Narathaki. Travel-
ling here is difficult. The roads if such they may
be called are very bad. I had to walk part of the
way barefoot. I suppose I have walked sixteen
miles. The congregations are very small. How-
ever, our business is to sow the seed. We have to
prepare the way for greater things, which, I doubt
not, will assuredly follow. Two persons embraced
Christianity in the morning. I had also several
opportunities of speaking to people whom I met, and
others whom I saw working. I trust that good will
thereby be effected. Some of the persons to whom I
spoke are from distant islands, and some from a
distant town on this island. By our residence here
the torrent of vice is stemmed, and a way prepared
for the waters of life to run through these lands.
60 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Knowledge is increasing among the heathen and
those who are professedly Christian ; and we know
that the religion which we teach is mighty, and the
more it is opposed the deeper it takes root, and will
take root, and bring forth fruit, which shall be to the
praise and glory of Him at whose command we have
come into this wilderness.
"August llth. Eatu Bukarau, a chief from
Lomaloma, came here to-day, having heard that
some teachers had come from Tonga, desirous to
know whether some would go to his place. He has
maintained his profession of Christianity without
any person to instruct him. He was much pleased
at finding that two men would go to him when they
had obtained sufficient knowledge of the Fijian
language. His father, who is the principal chief on
that island, has desired him to desist, and many
others. The priests have said that there would not
be rain, and the ground would be scorched so as not
to produce food, on account of his having embraced
religion. Their craft is in danger. He asked where
the priests would go in the event of a famine."
Lomaloma is a larger island than Lakemba, and
about eighty miles distant. Only one teacher ap-
pears to have been sent, who was warmly welcomed
by the chief. He found ten of the people professing
Christianity, besides six belonging to other islands.
ENTERING ON HIS MISSION LAKEMBA. 51
Katu Bukarau proved to be a very powerful chieftain,
and a man of great earnestness and courage. He
visited other chiefs, telling them all he knew of the
Christian faith, and strongly urging them to accept
it. Public service was held in his house, which
was crowded, while a great number stood listening
In this case there is an instance of that which was
one of the most striking and deeply interesting
features of the early days of the Gospel in Fiji.
In the most unerpected places, often far away from
any spot which the missionaries had reached, they
were surprised and made very glad to hear of a
growth of the truth which had sprung up from seed
carried and sown they could not tell how, until
afterwards the whole story came to be made known.
And let the full significance of the historical fact be
well noted, and its evidence weighed, that wherever
this growth appeared, the fruit which it bore, though
differing much in measure and in the ripeness of it,
was in all cases the same. Men not only quitted
one faith for another, but they set themselves to
escape from customary evils of their lives, while
they became possessed of a strange zeal to persuade
others to receive the newly discovered truth.
LAKEMBA AND ONO.
Planting of the Gospel in Ono. Wai. A Strange Act of Worship.
Josiah. Isaac Ravuata. Progress. An Appeal. Voyage
to Ono. Vatoa. Work at Ono. Safe Return. Correspond-
ence with Hunt on Sanctification. The Story of Tovo.
Sickness and Depression. Visit of Rev. John Waterhouse,
and Arrival of Rev. Thomas Williams. Ono Revisited. Faith
in the Heathen Gods failing. Oneata. Chapel Opening.
Tangithi's Illness. Lualala, Visit of King George of Tonga.
Lomaloma. Cannibal Scenes at Somosomo. Sickness.
Confessions of a Priest. A Bad Englishman. Great Work
in Ono. Success at Wathiwathi. First Parting with the
Children. Illness of Mrs. Calvert. Death of Hunt. Farewell
LAKEMBA AND ONO.
rhas already been stated that soon after Mr.
Calvert's arrival, he set out with Mr. Cargill to
visit the island of Ono, one hundred and fifty miles
away, but was hindered by contrary winds from making
the voyage. The wonderful and beautiful story of
the planting of the Gospel in Ono must now be told.
In 1835, the year in which Cross and Cargill
landed in Fiji, there was great trouble in Ono, the
principal of a little cluster of islands forming the
southern outpost of the group, and tributary to
Lakemba. An epidemic sickness thinned the popu-
lation, and many of the men were killed in war.
All the prescribed forms of sacrifice and worship
were observed in order to propitiate the gods; but
no help came. The time had arrived for sending
tribute to Lakemba, and a chief named Wai was the
bearer of it. In Lakemba he met a Christian chief,
Takai, who had visited Sydney, Tahiti, and the
Friendly Islands, and from him heard for the first
time about the true God. He went home, carrying
56 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
this new knowledge, which was about as scanty as it
could be. All he had to tell his people was that
there was one true God, named Jehovah, and that
He required one day in the seven to be set apart for
rest and for worship. Beyond this he could teach
them absolutely nothing. Discontented with their
own gods, who left them to suffer unaided, Wai and
a few of the islanders agreed that they would try
this new Deity, and began by keeping a Sabbath, for
which food was prepared; and the worshippers gathered
with their skins newly oiled, and wearing their best
head-dresses and waist-cloths. Now a grave dif-
ficulty met them. How should they approach the
great God ? The idea of prayer, as an act separate
from the mediation of a priest, was wholly unknown
to them. After consultation, they sent for one of
their own heathen priests to come and conduct their
worship ; and he, knowing that the old order was
just then in great disfavour, and, perhaps, fearing to
refuse, consented. Surely a stranger act of religious
worship never took place than that which followed.
Surely, if any harvest was to follow, a smaller seed
was never sown. When all were seated for to sit
was the token of the most reverent respect in Fiji
the priest, sitting amongst them, thus led their
devotions : " Lord, Jehovah ! Here are Thy people.
They worship Thee. I turn my back on Thee for
the present, and am on another tack, worshipping
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 57
another god. But do Thou bless these Thy people.
Keep them from harm, and do them good." This
service was repeated week by week ; but the people
longed to know more; and when a whaler, on her
way to the Friendly Islands, called at Ono for pro-
visions, they took a passage on her for two messengers,
who should lay their case before the missionaries in
Tonga, of whom Wai had heard. This mode of
communication, however, was long and uncertain,
and many months passed away.
But that curious, imperfect petition had in it so
much of the real essence of prayer, being, in all its
groping ignorance, a cry of want and real desire, that
it was heard, and help came in an altogether unex-
pected way. A canoe, manned by Christian Tongans,
on her return voyage from Lakemba, was driven by
foul winds out of her course, and came to Vatoa, a
little island about fifty miles from Ono. Hearing of
what was going on there, one of the Tongans, Josiah
by name, went thither, and was warmly welcomed by
the little band of seekers after God, to whom he
preached Christ. He remained among them, teach-
ing them, as far as he could, the truths of the Gospel.
Before long the company of worshippers grew to forty,
and a chapel was built, which would hold a hundred
persons. The two messengers reached Tonga, and
learned that missionaries had been sent to Fiji, and
that the application for help must be made to them.
58 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
But again the aid was to be provided in a very un-
foreseen way. An Ono youth, of wild and restless
disposition, had found his way to Tonga, and there
first heard the Gospel. Thence he voyaged to
Lakemba, where he was converted, and became a
consistent member of the Church. Having remained
for some time under the care and instruction of
the missionaries, this Isaac Kavuata was, in 1838,
sent as a teacher to his own people. On reaching
Ono he found a hundred and twenty adults professing
Christianity, which meant, at least, that they had
wholly abandoned the old heathen faith and worship,
and were trying to follow, as far as they knew them,
the teachings of Christ. These listened to the new
teacher with much eagerness, and cheerfully supplied
him with food and clothing. He, having himself
learned to read, sent word back by the canoe to
Mr. Cargill to send him some books ; and, somehow,
the hard-worked missionary found time to write out
a few copies of a first catechism for his use. Before
the year was out another Tongan teacher was sent ;
and, after the setting up of the press in the year
following, two more were appointed, who carried with
them a further supply of catechisms. They found
that more than two hundred men and women had
declared themselves Christians. Three chapels had
been built, and were already insufficient for the
people who came to the services.
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 59
In September 1839 Mr. Calvert writes in his
" I received the following letter from two of the
teachers who have been stationed at Ono since
February 1838: 'This letter is from John Havea
and Isaac Ravuata. We love thee, Mr. Calvert.
We make known to thee the effect of the grace of
God since February 1838 to the present time. The
work of the Lord has sprung up greatly. Do thou
attend to us and the people who worship Jehovah.
The number of the men who worship God in Ono is
120, the women 113. We disclose to thee what we
have received for books a great number of mats, a
large quantity of yams, sinnet,* and native cloth.
We have heard of scarcity of food at Lakemba, and
desire to bring the goods to thee. The place of
worship in Ono is 50 feet in length and 25 in width,
but this is too small. Love from us and Lucy Havea
to thee and Mrs. Calvert.' The following I received
from two teachers whom I sent to a part of Ono :
' The letter of Jeremiah Latu, Lazarus Ndrala, and
Agnes Latu. Great is our love to Mr. and Mrs.
Calvert. Great are the effects of the grace and love
of God in Ndoi [a small island off Ono]. Nearly all
the people of Ono have become worshippers of the
Lord. The numbers at Ndoi are 48 men and 47
* Braided cocoa-nut fibre, xised for cord of all sizes.
60 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
women. Great are the riches [property contributed
by the people] here belonging to thee ; but we have
no canoe to bring the property to Lakemba. We
are dead in love to thee [a Fijian superlative], Mr.
Calvert, but have not a canoe to bring the food.
We beg of thee to send a canoe, and also a little ink.
The good report has sprung up in this land, Ono.
There are three houses of worship in Ono, one in
Ono Levu, one in Matakaua, and one in Ndoi. Great
is our love to thee and Mrs. Calvert.'
" The people from the canoe give an excellent report
of the progress of Christianity in the island. They
say that the chapels are crowded during Divine
worship, and that many have to remain outside.
They are most anxious to be taught, so that those
belonging to the canoe who could sing or teach the
catechism were not allowed to sleep during the
night, but were engaged in instructing the natives.
The people are very anxious for a visit from me
immediately, in order that they may be married and
" On hearing these reports, Mrs. Calvert said, ' Do
you intend to go ? ' I replied, ' How can I ? '
' Why ? ' she asked. I answered, ' How can I leave
you alone ? ' She said, ' It would be much better to
leave me alone than to neglect so many people ; and
if you can arrange for the work to be carried on you
ought to go. "
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 61
Upheld by this saintly heroism of his young wife,
he made ready to go as soon as a suitable craft could
be found in which to make the long journey. His
reluctance to leave Mrs. Calvert and her baby alone
might well be increased by the news which came
just at this time of war on the other side of the
island on which they lived. Several, including two
chiefs, had been killed, and a good many wounded.
One side asked leave of the king to fight out their
quarrel. He gave his consent, telling them to fight
night and day until one party conquered, but that
the killed on either side were to be brought to the
principal town to be baked and eaten ; the reason
given being that there was a scarcity of food on the
island. Hearing this, Mr. Calvert hastened to the
king's house late at night, and found him in con-
sultation with his brother and other chiefs. He
presented a whale's tooth and a hatchet, according
to custom, and then begged him to put an end to
the war. After much talking the king promised
to do so, and Mr. Calvert got home at midnight.
Next day he found that the promise was not likely
to be kept, and went to see the king again. He
came away, however, much discouraged, and heard
that the king had said, " To-morrow is the day for
eating men." A few days after, the welcome news
came that the people themselves had made peace.
The rest of this first year of his mission life was
62 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
spent in visiting the places on Lakemba and such
outlying islands as he could reach. He was also
working continually at the language, and was able
to preach without reading. In addition, he seriously
set himself to learn also the Tongan language, as
Lakemba was the chief port for the many Friendly
Islanders who voyaged to Fiji. He was also busy
preparing for the press, making copies of portions of
the New Testament which older missionaries had
translated. Once he started to visit Ono, but was
obliged to put back again ; and it was not until the
last day of the year that he could again secure a
passage. He then set out in a native canoe, carrying
in all eighty persons.
" December Slat. Sailed for Ono. At noon we
were off Komo, where Josiah wished to sleep ; but,
on my desiring him to proceed, we went to Ongea.
"January 1st, 1840. Sailed for Vatoa ; but during
the forenoon the sea became rough, and the wind
strong and contrary, so that we were obliged to
return. We reached Ongea again with difficulty.
The men worked well.
" January 3rd. Sailed again for Vatoa. The sea
was very rough, so that we were driven to leeward of
the island, and with great difficulty anchored at
" January 5th. Married eleven couples. On my
LAKE MB A AND ONO. 63
telling the chief that the law of God forbade his
having two wives, and asking him what his mind
was about putting away one of the two he then lived
with, he said that his mind was truly fixed to follow
the Lord, and therefore His law ruled him to give up
one. He chose the aged one, the mother of his
children. Though a teacher has been at this place
only a month, the chief can read with ease in the
Gospel of St. Matthew. I baptised two who have
professed Christianity for some time. At this island
there are five members, and thirty-nine on trial.
The population, including the children, is seventy-
two, and of these only three are heathens.
" 'January 6th. Sailed to Ndoi, an island belonging
to Ono. Wrote the names of the persons to be
married and baptised. 1th. Married twenty couples,
and baptised seventy-four persons. I then sailed to
Ono Levu (Great Ono), when I met the people, and
wrote the names of the persons to be married. I
then married thirty-seven couples. I afterwards
wrote the names of those to be baptised. 8th.
Baptised a hundred and fifty-three persons, and ad-
dressed them. 9th. Preached at Ono Levu. Visited
the classes and schools, and met the teachers.
10th. Went to Vuthi. Preached, married a couple,
and baptised five. 12th. Preached at the three
places of worship. 15th. We have been detained
by contrary winds and the shattered state of the
64 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
canoe. Sailed to-day, but the wind being very
strong, and the canoe rather heavily loaded, we
were obliged to remain at Ndoi. 19th. Preached
at Ono Levu and Ndoi. 20th. Sailed for Lakemba.
After being two nights at sea, we landed, through
the kind mercy of the Lord, at Lakemba, early in
the morning of the 22nd-, when I was pleased to
find my dear wife and child well, without having
been at all annoyed by the natives during my
Such are the bare notes of a most real and
memorable episcopal visitation. In writing to his
dear friend, Hunt, then at Somosomo, he tells
something of the joy with which he witnessed the
wonderful work of God.
" My visit to Ono was heart-refreshing though body-
tiring, and in some instances enough to make one
afraid. I suppose the distance is at least a hundred
and sixty miles, and it is a more than usually out of
the way place. The land is very superior. I have not
seen any island in Fiji equal to it. But the land is
not more beautiful in its appearance and fertile in its
productions than are the beauty and fruit of the
work of the Lord our God amongst the natives.
The inhabitants of Ono were proverbial for their
insolence and bad conduct towards those who
visited them. They even killed a Tui Nayau [a
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 65
king of Lakemba, their own suzerain] formerly.
But how altered their state, and how different the
fruits that proceed from such a change in their
views, feelings, enjoyments, and pursuits ! They are
truly renewed characters, and exemplify in their
conduct the transforming and powerful effects of
the pardoning and changing grace of God, received
by trusting in the atonement of Jesus. Seeing the
blessed effects of the grace of God, how could I be
otherwise than heartily glad, and exhort them all
with full purpose of heart still to cleave to the
Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and truth with all
their hearts ? I felt unusually blessed in my work,
though sometimes scarcely able to stand on account
of weakness of body. Yet I thank the Lord that I
was not prevented from completing my work, and
preaching regularly during my stay. In meeting
them in class I felt my soul quickened by hearing
their spiritual experience ; and what brightened my
pleasure and gratitude was, that God had brought
all this about by native instruments. Blessed be
His holy name, who triumphs gloriously, and works
mightily after the sovereign counsel of His own will,
making His name great among the Gentiles ! My
soul would swell on such a theme as this, but I
must close, and direct my mind and yours to
another scene, widely different in its origin and
66 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
.He then goes on to tell showing the sharp
contrasts in the mission life in those days that on
the Sunday morning after his return, as he was
preparing for public worship, a sudden disturbance
broke out, begun by some heathen people molesting
certain Tongan Christians, and swiftly spreading, so
as to threaten a violent conflict. Already, when he
hastened to the king's house, the men were flocking
together, armed and blackened as for war. In the
end the peril was averted.
In the earlier months of 1840 Calvert was in
bad health. This was, no doubt, largely owing to
the straits to which they were sometimes brought in
procuring suitable food. His predecessor had fared
even worse ; but things were now bad enough. The
communication with the outer world in those days
was infrequent and uncertain ; and when their
stores were exhausted, or their flour was spoiled,
they subsisted very largely on yams and taro. They
could generally get fish from the natives, but not
always. Poultry was a rare luxury in those days ;
and the only flesh-meat to be obtained was pork,
the most unsuitable of all for the climate. They
got heartily tired of it, and would sometimes practise
on their own imagination by serving the inevitable
pork with caper-sauce. Calvert was working very
hard, and the want of proper food made him ill.
With loss of strength he also lost something of
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 67
spirit, and became, at times, depressed; and thus,
while rejoicing in the successes gained elsewhere,
mourned because of the want of much direct fruit
of his own personal efforts. He showed all his soul
in writing to Hunt. The following extracts from
one of his letters are specially interesting as re-
vealing the native simplicity of his character, and as
containing the first mention of one important work
which Hunt was proposing to himself. He had
mentioned that he had some thought of writing
upon the Scriptural teaching concerning Christian
holiness. This design was afterwards carried out in
a series of letters written to Calvert, which have
been published, and form a most valuable system of
careful exposition of this doctrine.*
" Fefouary 29th. 1840. You will see from my
letter to my depression of soul on account of
our work in these lands, and because of my own
experience. Please, pray for me that I may have
the spirit of constant prayer.
" You do well to think and write about and seek
after entire sanctification. There is not anything
that will do as a substitute. Our enjoyment, safety,
Entire Sanctification : Its Nature, The Way of its A ttain-
ment, and Motives for its Pursuit, In Letters to a Friend.. By
the late, Rev. John Hunt. London.
68 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
prosperity of soul, and usefulness depend upon our
living in the enjoyment of this common Christian
privilege, or pressing hard after it. We are safe
and prosperous as it is explained, defended, and
enforced by the preachers, and sought, obtained, and
practised by the people. But how shall we preach
it clearly and effectually if we do not enjoy it ?
Knowing, then, as we do, this Scripture doctrine, and
feeling that it is authoritatively pressed upon us,
how great our guilt in neglecting our duty and
abusing our privilege ! . . . All this and much more
I know and feel keenly. I confess that I am verily
guilty awfully guilty in this important matter.
May the Lord in mercy so make me feel it that I
may not rest until I find that rest from sin, which is
as well the privilege as the duty of all the people of
" On commencing my letter it was not my intention
to make these observations at this time, as I designed
at some future period to have thought more on the
subject, and then to have laid before you my
thoughts. Not that I suppose that I shall be able
to render you any material assistance in your pro-
posed essay ; for my mind as you must know if you
think without prejudice is of a very common order,
and my knowledge very scanty and superficial. . . .
Go on, dear brother, and may the God of all grace
grant to you all the blessings which Paul desired for
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 69
the Ephesians, and prosper you in the great work to
which you have set your hand."
When Mr. Calvert visited Ono, he found among
the candidates for baptism a girl of the highest rank
in the island, named Tovo.
" She could read well, was very active in teaching,
both at the school and in private, and showed great
diligence in visiting the sick and doing all manner
of good. According to custom she had been be-
trothed in infancy ; and her future husband was the
old heathen king of Lakemba. This was well known 5
and Mr. Calvert declined to baptise her unless she
resolved that, at any cost, she would refuse to become
one of the thirty wives of Tui Nayau. Tovo declared
her firm purpose to die rather than fulfil her heathen
betrothal. The old chief, her father, and all the
Christians, resolved to suffer anything rather than
give her up. When this was made quite clear she
was baptised, taking the name of Jemima."
" On Mr. Cal vert's return from Ono, he immediately
informed the king of Tovo's baptism, and showed
him that she could not now become one of his many
wives. But the heathens at Ono saw the importance
of the crisis, and were quietly urging Tui Nayau and
his chiefs to demand Jemima. Whereupon the
king equipped a fleet of eleven canoes to go to
Ono, manning several of them with fighting men.
70 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Hearing of this, the missionary went to him, and,
presenting a whale's tooth, said, ' You are preparing
to voyage to Ono. I understand that you intend to
compel Jemima to be brought to you. I beg you
will not do so, but allow her to remain at her own
island, a Christian.' ' No, I am going there only for
tribute sinnet, cloth, and pearl-shells/ ' If so, why
do you take your warriors with you ? I should have
thought that if you were going merely for tribute,
you would have taken sailors; but instead of that
you take a number of warriors.' ' Oh, they are good
sailors also. I shall manage very well with them.'
' Tui Nayau, before I leave you, I warn you faith-
fully ; I love you, and therefore warn you. God's
people are as the apple of His eye. In thus fetch-
ing the girl you are fighting against God. You
will imperil your own safety if you go on such an
errand. Remember that on the sea, and on all the
islands between Lakemba and Ono, the Lord Jehovah
rules supreme, and can easily punish you if you are
found fighting against Him. Take care what you
are about.' ' Oh no ; I don't intend anything of the
kind. I am only just going to my own island to
fetch tribute, as I have done before.'
" Finding that he could get no acknowledgment
nor concession, Mr. Calvert said on parting : ' I hear
what your mouth says, but do not know what your
heart intends. I do not know what you really
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 71
purpose ; but forewarn you that you are risking
your own safety if you attempt to fetch Tovo from
" On the Sunday the king sailed with his warriors.
He had been requested to delay starting till the
Monday, as two of the canoes, on one of which was
his brother, were manned by Christian Tongans. He
refused, telling them to follow the next day. The
voyage went on prosperously, and the party stopped
night after night at the several islands lying in the
route, and at last reached Vatoa, within a short day's
sail of Ono. Here Tui Nayau threw off all disguise,
and, by his ill-treatment of the Vatoan Christians,
showed plainly what he purposed at Ono. Food and
property were wantonly destroyed ; and no one
might complain, as the people had committed the
great offence of having become Christians before
their king. Wishing to make very sure, the ex-
pedition waited several days for a fair wind. Four
canoes, carrying men of the sailor tribe, who lived
by piracy and pillage, were sent on at once to be
ready for any emergency, and to do the king's will
should any disturbance arise. These canoes, with
about a hundred souls on board, were never heard of
again. Either they went down at sea, or were cast
on some island, where they would, according to law,
be killed and eaten by the inhabitants.
" A fair wind came, and the king started with two
72 JAMES CALVEBT OF FIJI.
canoes manned by heathen Tongans. But the wind
shifted ; and though they sighted Ono, they could
not lie up for it. The canoes were brought as near
to the wind as possible, and tried to beat ; but, do
what they would, they still drifted to leeward.
They saw the reef and the high land. Then the wind
freshened, and they were obliged to strike sail.
The masts were lowered, to let the canoes drift as
easily as possible, and all chance of making Ono
was gone. Things were now in a bad way with
them. The breeze got stronger and the sea very
rough, making the canoes pitch and labour terribly.
Then the canoe-house loosened, and the sailors were
in great fear. As the night closed over them the king
seemed to give up all hope of rescue. He thought
of the missionary's warning, and was Very fearful.
Making up his mind to die, he oiled himself, put on
his royal dress and a beautiful necklace, and awaited
his fate. He prayed to his god, promising great
offerings and the sacrifice of a large pig, fed by his
own hand, if he should return safely. Next morning
the two crews were delighted to find themselves in
sight of each other, and far away from islands at
which they could not have landed in safety. During
the day they got to Totoya, where the indirect
influence of Christianity had already made a change,
and where the king and the Tongans were known
and respected. After receiving, for several days, kind
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 73
treatment, for which the Totoyans would expect a
generous return on their next visit to Lakemba, the
wind became fair, and the two canoes started for
home. Immediately on their return the king
begged the missionary that his ' words of warning
might never follow him again.' He was very kind
to Mr. Calvert, and when the Tongan sailors were
expecting a feast on the great pig that was to be
sacrificed to the god, they heard, to their chagrin,
that it had been sent to the missionary, who had
already salted it down. Thus did the king declare
his conviction that he owed the preservation of his
life to the missionary's God." (Fiji and theFijians.)
It is not possible to give here even a sketch of the
Christian history of Ono up to the time when, after
much suffering and persecution, the truth prevailed,
and the whole population forsook heathenism. The
deeply interesting record is to be found in the book
from which the above extract is taken. As to Tovo,
her difficulties and danger were by no means at an
end ; but at last the king retired from his claim and
left her in peace.
Calvert was still in poor health ; and his letters at
this period sometimes show him in a dejected mood,
at least in regard of his own spiritual life. Thus he
writes to Hunt : " All my life, both as it regards my
spirit and motives and designs, is very far off ' the
74 JANES CALVERT OF FIJI.
exceeding broad command ' of trod. I abhor myself.
And yet I do not awake from my slumbers. I need
something to rouse me, and lead me afresh to the
God of mercy, through the all-efficacious blood of
the Saviour. I feel that I love the Lord Jehovah,
Jesus the Saviour, and the Holy Ghost, the Lord
and Giver of Life. I sometimes desire to seek a
' full Divine conformity to all the Saviour's blessed
will.' But how short and faint my desires and
pursuit of the perfect love of God to fill and rule my
heart ! Pray for me. Pity me. Love me. Lest I
should be ill again to-day, I must conclude."
About two months after this was written, the
missionary ship Triton made her first voyage to Fiji,
bringing the Kev. John Waterhouse, the Genera]
Superintendent of the Australian and Polynesian
Missions. It is impossible to tell how important
and how welcome this event was to the young couple
at the lone mission-house at Lakemba, whose joy
was completed when the Kev. Thomas Williams,
who had come with Mr. Waterhouse, was left as
Mr. Calvert's colleague.
Already there were evidences that the faith of the
people in their gods was being shaken. Thus, one
day, turtles were being dragged to the temple for
sacrifice. The missionaries went to watch the
ceremony. Their presence very much disconcerted
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 75
the king, who, instead of entering the temple,
passed by, telling the people they were to present
the offering. They sat, however, silent in the
temple, when a message was brought from the king to
the same effect. Presently he returned, but, finding
that the offering had not been made, sat outside on
the steps. At last one man went and presented
food with the customary prayers, while the king left
without having entered the temple. Such a thing
had never happened before.
The relief afforded by having a companion in the
toils and anxieties of the work was unspeakable ; and,
early in 1841, we find Calvert writing to England :
" I am very well, and am getting quite stout. For
my improved state of health we are very thankful,
as we began to be somewhat fearful that I should not
be able to stand this climate."
During this year, Mr. Waterhouse visited Ono in
the Triton, and Mr. Calvert accompanied him.
They were greatly cheered by the progress which
had been made. The opposition of the heathen
party had been very violent, and had brought about
something like a state of war. But the strife had
come to an end, and the hostile minority had by
degrees joined with the people whom they had
persecuted, so that on the arrival of the missionaries
there was a large number of candidates for baptism.
Thus " all the people, except those women whose
76 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
husbands were from home, abandoned heathenism."
Among those who received baptism was a priest.
In August the following incidents are recorded :
" A priest lately invoked the god at Mothe, on the
presentation of first-fruits of arrowroot. Holding up
a bunch of cocoa-nuts, he said, 'If the nuts fall
from the bunch, we shall have plenty of food. If
not, the bread-fruit will not bear, and we shall have
a famine.' The nuts remained on the bunch. He
shook in vain. It being a bad report, he feared the
people, and complained that they had brought a
bunch of nuts which were firm. The people were
displeased ; and some heathen Tongans said that he
was a false man.
" On preparing arrowroot, according to the Fijian
custom, to be offered to the gods at Oneata, the
heathens now first divided it, and sent a portion to
the Christians, and then took the remainder to the
heathen temple. The priest, who had been accus-
tomed to shout aloud when he pretended that the
god entered into him, merely coughed, and his
mouth being used, he affirmed, by the god said :
' It will be well for you all to become Christians ; I
will go to my own land.' This priest is a very quick
and strong fellow. He has been much in earnest in
heathenism. I have lately had two conversations
with him, when I besought him not to deceive the
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 77
people, and warned him to flee from the wrath to
come. He did not appear to regard much what I
said. We have his grand-daughter living on the
mission premises. She is a very nice girl, and evi-
dently attached to the lotu."*
" September SQth. I have this day attended and
administered medicine to a wife of the third chief
in rank. She is seriously ill. About two hours after
I left her, I was surprised to hear the report of a
gun, which led me to believe that the priest had
been invoking the god of the chief, and that a gun
was fired, according to custom, on the god's depar-
ture, at his bidding, though the king says this is a
lie of the priest. I felt concerned about the woman,
and also about the result of my medicine, and had
therefore despatched a messenger to inquire about
the state of my patient. My messenger arrived just
after the invocation, while the priest was yet de-
livering his message from the god, the late father of
the chief. He said, ' It is good your living in the
world.' The chief, presenting a whale's tooth, re-
plied, ' Your coming to us is good. Thava, my
wife, a lady from Lomaloma, is very ill. If we were
to die here it would be right. But we should be
* Lotu is the Fijian word for religion ; and very early in
the history of the Mission was used distinctively for the
Christian religion. When a person quitted heathenism to
put himself under Christian instruction he was said to lotu.
78 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
greatly ashamed if she were to die in this land. We
therefore beg you to be of a good mind, and save
her.' The lying lips of the priest, as the mouth
of the god, answered, ' True, I am vexed. There
are many things in which I am neglected in your
house. Many of your observances are done away
with. I therefore offered a whale's tooth to Tui
Vakanoa and Tui Lakemba [two other local deities],
that Thava might die. We are living separate in
the place of spirits. The foreign God is near to you.
You want to embrace Christianity. We shall keep
separate. I shall try to save Thava ; but you must
recollect that I am not a god.* I am a man like
you. I once lived with you. I speak in this way
only because I have had a different dwelling for
some time. Yet I will make an offering to Tui
Vakanoa and Tui Lakemba to save Thava.' A
bunch of cocoa-nuts was then brought to be shaken,
the priest saying that if all fell she would live. In
vain he tried to shake them off. One fatal nut
remained. After the ceremony was over, an old
man, belonging to another tribe of priests, filliped
the remaining nut, and said, ' There are plenty of
nice bota (ripe nuts, which fall readily) in Lakemba,
* Besides gods of supreme rank, the Fijians worshipped
a lower order who were mortals deified after death. The
reference above is to the latter class.
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 79
yet they have brought these young nuts.' The man
who had gathered them said, ' We were tired in
climbing nut trees for a bunch of old nuts, but could
not find one.' The following morning I called on
the woman, and found that the medicine had been
useful to her. I had some conversation with the
chief and the priest. They both appeared to be
ashamed. This is the only priest in the principal
settlement, and there are several settlements without
a priest. On the rebuilding of the heathen temple
no property was presented, as is usual."
Thus, in many ways, there came signs of a great
change. Ancient customs, growing out of the old
heathen faith, were falling into disuse. A priest on
the island of Mothe, forty miles from Lakemba,
had lately said, when professing to be possessed by
his god, that a new king meaning the Christians'
God was established in these days, and that the
gods had fled from Ono and Oneata ; and the gods
of Mothe would join them at Lakemba, and go in
company to search for fresh lands to the leeward.
Cannibalism had disappeared from Lakemba, so
that the missionaries now on that one island had
never witnessed its horrors, although it had been
practised quite recently on a large scale close to the
mission-house at Somosomo, and was still common
in other parts of the group.
80 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
In a letter to England, Calvert wrote :
" I need not tell you that as heathenism gives
way Christianity advances. Neither need I say that
it is Christianity alone which has exposed their
refuges of lies. The cause of truth is prospering
greatly in Fiji, not as shown by many pardoned and
renewed Fijians though we are thankful to know
that there is a goodly number who are accepted in
the Beloved but by putting heathenism in dis-
repute, and by gaining approval for itself.
" I am well in health, and much stronger than I
have been for some years. I feel that the Lord is
my portion, and that I am His. I desire to love
Him with all my heart, and to serve Him fully with
a perfect heart and a willing mind. I mourn over
my unfaithfulness to God, and littleness of love.
May He quicken me according to His word. My
dear wife enjoys excellent health and spirits. She
is happy in her God and in her work. She has
taught a few to sew, and meets a class."
In the same letter he gossips pleasantly about
some experiences of Fijian travel, which must have
been anything but pleasant at the time.
" Before we reached the place [in the night] rain
poured upon us, so that we could not proceed. I
was exceedingly wet, and, not having change of
raiment, I had to dry my clothes by a poor fire
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 81
before I could rest. My pillow was a piece of native
cloth. I lay on a rough mat, and covered myself
with a finer one. When I was nearly asleep a land
crab laid hold of my toe. I was then obliged to get
upon my finer and larger mat, but could not sleep
for cold. I then covered myself with the native
cloth, and tried an old cocoa-nut for a pillow ; but it
did not fit my head. I then tried another, but it was
alike uneven. So I put my head on part of the
firewood which we had to warm us. It, also, was too
hard. At last I laid my head on the ground, and
was blessed with refreshing sleep."
During this year another child a son was born
at the mission-house. A great event also took place
in another visit from the General Superintendent,
accompanied by Messrs. Jaggar, Lyth, and Hunt, to
hold an adjourned District Meeting at Lakemba.
This intercourse with the brethren, and especially
with his much-loved friend, Hunt, was as a festival to
Calvert, and helped him greatly in his work. He
was frequently busy for the press, as the demand
for books, especially first reading books and cate-
chisms, was fast increasing ; and the publication of
portions of the New Testament was being pushed
forward as fast as much anxious correspondence
about the translation would allow. Then the number
increased of islands into which Christianity had
82 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
been introduced, and the visitation of a missionary
became urgently needed. In the voyaging which
this visitation involved Mr. Calvert took a full
share. In the April of 1842 he went to Oneata,
where the people were just finishing the building of
a large chapel. He tells the story of his visit there :
" April 21th. In the afternoon I preached from
Acts x. 33. The people were very attentive. Their
singing is very bad, but I cannot help them, as I
know only one tune."
" 28th. I met the men and boys in the school
in the morning, and the women in the after-
noon. I was delighted to hear some young women
read, and to mark their diligence in instructing
those who are beginning to learn. After the school
I met a female class. Their experience is not very
clear or deep ; but they seem to be in earnest and
single-hearted. A canoe has gone to Lakemba to
bring an Oneata chief to the opening of the chapel.
I wrote to my dear wife, desiring her to come with
the old chief, that she might see the chapel, and
teach the people to sing."
" 29th. Busy to-day in directing the people
to make the floor and ground in front of the
chapel even, and to fetch sand and grass, and
floor the building. They stitched one narrow mat
down the middle of the chapel, which gives a neat
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 83
appearance to the floor, and serves as a division for
the sexes. The canoe from Lakemba was in sight
to-day. She had to put into an uninhabited island
for the night, the wind being contrary. Mrs. Calvert
and the children slept on the beach, as there was no
house on the island. I called upon a priest, who
still continues a heathen. He says that he is
very badly off for a dress, but that he shall lotu
before long. He sold me one of the conch shells
which are blown when he invokes his god, in ex-
change for a first reading-book, so that he may have
a book ready when he abandons heathenism."
" 30th. The people very busy in preparing
food for the opening of the chapel. Several pigs
were cooked, which, with ripe bananas, yams, sugar-
cane, and nuts, were piled in front of the chapel
about noon, and divided among the people ; one
large heap of food, with a pig, being given to the
people who brought me here. A similar heap was
left for the old chief, whose canoe was expected.
Seventy yams, a large pig uncooked, sugar-cane,
bananas, and nuts were given to me as my share !
About four o'clock the canoe arrived, bringing Takai,
the old chief, and Mrs. Calvert and the two children.
A large piece of iron was beaten to call the people
together. They all assembled, and we entered the
beautiful new chapel, which is dedicated to the true
God. I preached from Acts xii. 24. After the service
84 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
I married twelve couples. The chapel was comfort-
ably filled. I was opposed to its being so large (fifty-
eight feet long by twenty-six feet wide). However,
during the building of it, their number has been more
than doubled, by which increase they have been
assisted in the latter part of the building, and now
the chapel is just the size that it ought to be. It
was pleasing to see the people assemble in clean
and finely figured native cloth, beaten and printed
for the occasion. One piece was superior to any
native cloth that I have seen. My heart was deeply
affected by seeing so many who have given up their
false gods, and are seeking the true Grod. The word
of Grod still grows and multiplies. How powerful,
how certain an instrument ! The Lord will ever
confirm His truth with signs following. ' The glory
of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see
it together; for the mouth of the Lord hath
" Swiday, May 1st. At sunrise we met at the
prayer-meeting. In the forenoon I read the Ten
Commandments, and preached from Genesis xxxix. 2.
In the afternoon I preached from Luke xxiv. 46, 47.
It was a good day to our souls. I married thirteen
couples, and baptised five adults and five children."
" 2nd. I attended the schools, visited the people,
and met the teachers to-day. In the afternoon we
held a prayer-meeting, at which I gave an address on
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 85
prayer, directing them to have partitions in their
houses, so that they might retire for prayer and
" 3rd. In the morning I met the men, and
in the afternoon the women, and divided them into
classes. Mrs. Calvert has been fully employed in
teaching the people to sing, but they do not learn
the art readily. They are too much like me, I fear,
have not got an ear for music. Mrs. Calvert has
just taught a young man from Tonga I suppose not
less than twenty tunes in a few weeks."
" 4:th. We sailed to Lakemba."
Three weeks afterwards there took place an in-
cident which is thus related in Fiji and the
Fijians (p. 310).
" Tangithi, the daughter of the king, was very ill,
and seemed likely to die. She wished to be visited
by the missionary, who found her much worse,
being speechless, and apparently insensible. The
medicine he gave soon produced a favourable change;
but next day she refused to continue under Mr.
Calvert's treatment, as a priest had arrived during
the night from a distance, and, through him, the
god had declared that the illness of the princess was
in consequence of the ruinous state of the temples.
The king, being very fond of his daughter, was
anxious to appease the anger of the gods, and
86 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
ordered large offerings of food to be prepared by all
the towns on the island. Toki, and the other
enemies of the Lotu, tried very hard to get this
order imposed on the Christians as well as the rest ;
but the king refused, saying that what the Christians
did in the matter would be useless, as they wor-
shipped another God. On being pressed, he added,
' They shall not be asked to help. And if they
were, do you think they would do anything in this
matter, seeing that such work is unlawful to them ? '
On this occasion, as on all others, care was taken by
the missionaries that, while the Christians stood
firmly to their principles, it should be done with as
little offence as possible ; so that they brought un-
bidden a supply of uncooked food as a present to
the king, who seemed pleased and satisfied. All
the heathens on the island joined in preparing the
offering for Tangithi's recovery. Many thousands
of taro-roots were baked and presented, with nine-
teen large puddings, made of the same material,
ground on the rough bark of the pandanus, and then
baked in leaves in portions about half the size of a
penny roll, to be afterwards all mixed together with
cocoa-nut and boiled sugar-cane juice, the whole mass
being neatly cased in a great number of banana
leaves. The largest pudding was twenty-one feet,
and the next nineteen feet in circumference.
" All these preparations occupied much time ; and
LAKSMBA AND ONO. 87
before everything was ready Tangithi got worse, and
again Mr. Calvert was sent for. He found her
removed to the house of a late brother of the king,
who was now deified, and said to be specially present
in his own house. The missionary, knowing that
the priest was there about his incantations, and that
large offerings had been prepared, deemed this a
good opportunity for teaching. The king was much
excited, and said, ' The illness of my daughter is
very great ! ' 'Yes,' said the missionary, 'I know it;
and you are to be blamed for following useless
heathen worship instead of continuing the use of
medicine which proved beneficial.' He further
added that he was unwilling to treat the patient
while the heathen observances were going on, and
the priest was rubbing her body ; lest on his own
treatment succeeding, it should be said that the
recovery was the result of the incantations and
offerings, and thus the people should become con-
firmed in their errors. After a long talk, and a
lecture to the priest on his absurd deceptions, Mr.
Calvert at last consented to undertake the case. He
administered a stimulant, which revived her from
stupor, making her throw about her arms restlessly.
This frightened the king, who thought she was
dying, and cried out angrily, ' You have killed my
daughter ! ' The missionary was in no enviable
position. The attendants and people all round were
88 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
very savage at his interference with the priest, and
only wanted a word to lead them to revenge. It
was late at night, and the mission-house was far off.
The place was full of enraged heathens, in the midst
of whom stood the stranger accused by the king of
murdering his favourite child. Nothing, however,
was to be gained by showing fear, so Mr. Calvert
snatched up his bottles, showing great indignation
at such a charge, after he had come at their earnest
request though served so badly by them before
and had given some of the medicine which had been
sent all the way from England for his own family.
Then, assuming a look of being greatly affronted, he
hurried away, glad enough to get safe home, where
he bolted all the doors, and kept an anxious look-out
next morning, until news arrived that Tangithi was
alive and somewhat better. During the morning a
message came from the king, begging for medicine
for another of his children, who was ill with dysen-
tery. Mr. Calvert sent word, ' Give my respects to
the king, and tell him that I do not wish to send
any more medicine for his children, having killed
his daughter last night ; and it is not lawful for a
missionary to kill two children of a king in so short
a time.' An apology soon came, and an entreaty
for forgiveness for words hastily spoken ; but the
medicine was not sent until another urgent request
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 89
" For four weeks the priests tried all their incanta-
tions and sacrifices ; but the sick girl got no better,
so that at last the father's heart relented, and he
gave his consent that she should renounce heathen-
ism, and be removed, with her attendants, to the
mission-house. This was accordingly done ; and the
missionary's wife could never forget the toil and
inconvenience and annoyance of having so many
Fijian women in her house. The care, however,
was cheerfully borne ; and in a short time the
patient improved. Now that she had lost all trust
in the heathen remedies, she was perfectly sub-
missive to the directions of the missionary, and
Tangithi became a genuine convert and a con-
sistent and useful member of the Church. Her
further history, which was very sad, may be found
in the book from which the above narrative is
During August of this year, 1842, the missionaries
met for conference in their District Meeting. The
Triton called at Lakemba, and took Calvert and
Williams to Somosomo, where the former preached,
and was much struck with the difference between
the people and the Lakembans. The king had been
ill, and announced his intention to become Christian
when he recovered. Eewa and Viwa were also
90 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
visited. The tour occupied about three weeks, and
was, in all respects, a very good and useful interval.
On October 16th Mr. Calvert writes: "Preached
thrice in Fijian, and once in the Tongan language
to-day. In the afternoon I was much delighted in
listening to one of our members at Wathiwathi. He
told me that Sefanaia Lualala had talked much to
the people of Wathiwathi and Tarakua, urging them,
with tears, to abandon heathenism, and embrace the
This man was a Tongan of very high rank and
of great influence at Lakemba, his mother being the
king's sister. He had been active in promoting war
in Tonga, with the avowed object of opposing Chris-
tianity, and was guilty of treachery and cruel blood-
shed. He left the Friendly Islands, and his coming
to Fiji was accepted as a signal of war against the
Christians. But he found them so numerous and so
united that his violence was checked, though he lost
no opportunity of petty persecution. For some time
past he had abandoned his opposition, and gradually
yielded to the truth. Then came his baptism
followed by very marked evidence that his acceptance
of the Gospel was more than a mere form ; and he
became an earnest advocate of the religion which he
had formerly persecuted, and went from place to place
and island to island, entreating the people to accept
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 91
In the latter part of this year a very interesting
and important event happened in the coming of
the Tongan king, with a fleet of canoes, on a visit to
Lakemba. King George Tubou, who, at the age
of ninety-eight, has just died, maintained, through-
out his long life, a high Christian character, and
was for many years an earnest and successful
preacher of the Gospel. He now came to Fiji to
use his influence in the settlement of very grave
complications which had arisen there, and were
threatening to cause war. Mr. Calvert heard him
preach several times during his visit, and speaks of
being " greatly pleased and profited " thereby.
In January, 1843, Mr. Calvert had an awkward
accident. He set out in a double canoe, with Mrs.
Calvert and the children, and Mrs. Williams, to go
to the opening of a new chapel at Waitambu. In
helping to work the canoe he fell into the sea, but
soon got on board again. He then waded to land,
and walked some distance on the beach to get dry.
Afterwards, on wading out again to the canoe, he
saw a large shark pass between him and the shore,
and was thankful enough that it did not turn in his
On February 21st there was a severe shock of an
earthquake in the night. Next morning Mr. Calvert
hastened to the king's house, hoping to turn the
alarm to good account. The king told him that
92 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
some of them were drinking yanggona the native
grog together when the trembling of the earth
came. They remembered nothing like it. He then
went on to relate their traditions of a great flood,
and of an attempt to build a house to reach the sky.
He also gave the pedigree and history of their chief
local god, Tui Lakemba, and finished by saying,
"But since you came he has not been seen. He
has no priest. He has hidden himself, or is lost, or,
perhaps, is ;dead. Or, probably, he knows that you,
the true priest of the true Grod, have come to the
land. Do you pray for us that we die not. We
have no other priests, so do you influence God on
In April, Daniel, a teacher, came to Lakemba,
bringing very cheering reports of the work at Loma-
loma, where he had been put in charge. He told
how, some time before, a canoe of a priest sailed in
company with several canoes belonging to Christians.
The priest's canoe was disabled, and he and his crew
floated to land on the outrigger. The Christians
went after the derelict canoe, and found it still afloat
with all the property on board. They dried the
mats, and then, at the instigation of the teacher,
restored all the property to the priest. He refused
to take it, as the transaction was a violation of
Fijian law, which made all such things the property
of the sailors. Two heathens, who had got three
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 93
mats and a mosquito curtain each from the wreck,
refused to give them up. The priest, compelled to
take back his own, was deeply impressed by this new
morality, and returned to his own land carrying a
good report of the Lotu. Afterwards news came
that he had actually begun to wear dress, and to
profess Christianity, saying, "Where else can I
go ? I have no god with me. Since the arrival of
the Christian religion I have not known any god."
" The teacher reports that heathenism is tottering
in Lomaloma, where there are many more people
than in Lakemba. The priests seldom profess now
to be visited and inspired by their gods. Lately,
however, many pigs and much food were cooked for
the gods. The priests assembled, and sat in order,
and were supposed to be near shaking ; for they shake
their bodies terribly, and violently excite themselves
under the influence of the god. But before they
began the teacher made his appearance. They
stared at one another, while the people laughed and
looked at Daniel. The priests and people were
ashamed. At last one priest broke the silence, pro-
fessing to be inspired by a god. He urged the other
gods to speak, and to promise to be still with the
people. Growing tired of pleading without success,
he departed. One pig, with other food, was given to
the teacher. Daniel is a famous fellow, good-tern-
94 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
pered, and very kind. The people love and respect
Just at this time there came to Calvert a great
surprise. His colleagues in the mission acknow-
ledged what he himself had certainly not discovered
that his command of the language so far excelled
their own that they submitted to him their transla-
tions for his criticism and revision. There were
amongst them men of education and scholarship to
which he could lay no claim ; and in a family letter
he refers to their opinion of his proficiency with an
amusing perplexity of astonishment, but with very
evident satisfaction. He knew well the limitations
of his own powers and culture ; and this recognised
success certainly came to him as a great encourage-
In July he went to Somosomo in the Triton, to
attend the District Meeting, and remained there
while the vessel went to fetch the other missionaries.
One reason for his staying there was, that he had
been suffering from dysentery for two months, and
wished to be under the care of Mr. Lyth, who had
received a medical training. He found that the
drugs he had been diligently taking had lost their
virtue. He was now supplied with new, and soon
Just as he reached Somosomo thirty canoes arrived
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 95
on their return from a victorious attack upon enemies
on the mainland of Vanua Levu. They had killed
fourteen persons, one of whom had been eaten on the
spot ; the rest were brought to Somosomo. Calvert
" We walked into the town, and saw them cooking
human beings with perfect unconcern. One was
tied up by the foot, for convenience, I suppose, in
cutting up. I saw pieces of human flesh and bones
cut and cooked and scraped in all directions.
The people were dancing, and drumming, and shout-
ing all night. On the next day, we saw the men who
had killed their enemies in the fight, dressed with
new cloth, painted red, and each provided with a
club. They are not allowed to sleep in a house for
several nights. They walk about with their clubs
on their shoulders, which on other occasions is not
At this District Meeting it was decided that
Mr. Williams must be removed to another part of
Fiji, as the number of missionaries had become
seriously reduced ; and thus Mr. Calvert was once
more left alone at Lakemba. He was convalescent,
but not yet strong. Writing to the missionaries at
the other side of the group, he says :
" First of all, and as the best thing you can do for
me, I beg your hearty, and constant, and believing,
96 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
and effectual, and fervent prayers. I think you may
pray for my restoration and prolonged life ; but pray,
oh pray, for grace to suffer, and a full preparedness
for eternal joy ! I feel happy in the love of God,
but I desire and greatly need the fulness of God's
" Next, I beg your sympathy. I am nervous. Be
gentle with me. If Brother Hunt, after Mrs. Hunt's
complete restoration, should be able easily to visit
me during the year, I shall be exceedingly thankful.
Or if Brother Lyth could undertake such a voyage in
a few months, when Somosomo may be in a more
settled state, he would be of great service to me,
should I be spared to see him.
" However, Brethren, be not anxious. Help me
not to be anxious. The will of the Lord be done.
In what work or place should I wish to die ? If my
dust is to be left in Fiji, and my soul go to rest from
Fiji, what place and work so fitting as where I am ? "
He afterwards had a return of the disorder, and
Mr. Lyth came over from Somosomo, and remained a
week with him, after which he got better, so that,
before the year closed, he could record in his journal :
" I have recovered, through God's mercy and blessing,
from eight months' dysentery."
The following extracts from Mr. Calvert's journal
for the early part of 1844 represent some phases of
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 97
the mission work of great interest, showing both its
progress, and its difficulties and discouragements.
"February 8th.- We sailed with a strong wind
to Tuvutha, where all the natives are professedly
"llth. I preached twice, and exercised the
people in the First Catechism. They had made
some progress in the verbal knowledge of it. I also
tried them with the Ten Commandments, which
they nearly know. I met the Society in class.
Their experience is exceedingly superficial, but
they hate their former belief and practices. After
service in the morning, the chief who accompanied
me desired Zephaniah to come to him. This man
was formerly priest of a god, Tui Vakanoa, equally
celebrated at Lakemba and other islands, and much
resorted to to procure fair winds. ' Tell me,' said the
chief, 'is the worship that you and I have long
adhered to true or false?' He replied, 'It is not
right for me, sir, to hide from you the truth. Our
worship is altogether false, sir.' ' Well, but
admitting that you were false on some occasions
when you invoked your god, let me ask you, were
you not sometimes inspired by your god when you
made reports to us ? ' ' If, sir, something besides
myself had spoken, then our worship would have
been true ; but I alone spoke.' ' And there was no
98 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
god with you ? ' ' Not any, sir ; but I alone spoke.'
' Then the words which you affirmed were the words
of Tui Vakanoa were only your own thoughts, which
were sometimes false, and sometimes true.' ' I
was called a priest, sir. Food, firewood, and property
were presented to me. I was ashamed to refuse to
invoke the god. I therefore thought what I should
say, which sometimes happened according to my
thoughts, but more frequently otherwise.' ' What
made your body shake ? ' 'I alone wished to make
it shake.' The chief then said in good humour,
' You are a bad fellow. You have mocked us often.
Our backs have frequently bled with carrying to you
firewood as an offering for a favourable wind, and
you have only belied us. But the (rod you now
worship we heathens do really fear. When we sail
with Christians, we are not at all afraid of being
lost. We are now sailing about with contrary winds,
yet I have not the least fear. I wonder why many
who profess Christianity are not afraid of Him.' "
" 22nd. Having heard that an Englishman, who
lately came to live on their island, had taken
property to one of the king's brothers, begging
him to take a young girl from Ongea by force for
him, I waited on the chief this morning. He told
me that the report was true; that the man had
brought him a musket, and had promised him four
kegs of powder for a young woman from his island,
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 99
Ongea, and that he had engaged to take her and
bring her to the Englishman. I begged him not to
be tempted by property and promises, but to regard
what was right. He desired me to be good-minded,
and let him take the woman for the Englishman,
that he might get his powder. I replied, ' It is
true that the temptation is great, but do not let
your covetousness have the mastery over you.' He
said, ' We do as you say. But, in this case, an
Englishman asks me so to act, and we therefore
suppose it is right, and we want powder.' I said,
' He is an idle Englishman, who acts inconsistently.
People are not bought and sold like pigs in England.
The girl is religious. She belongs to your island.
Do you love your people, and do not degrade yourself
and them by making her a slave.' At length he
said, ' Well, let it be as you please. There is the
musket. Will you take it to the mission premises,
and send for the man to your house, and tell him
that I shall not take the girl?' I said, 'If you
wish me, I will do so.' I accordingly took the
musket, and sent for the young man. He was
much chagrined, and said that he supposed I should
approve of what he had done, or he would not have
done it. I said, ' How could you suppose that I should
approve of your buying a woman as you would buy
a pig a woman who is a professing Christian, and
is already engaged to an Ongea man ? I know that
100 JAMES CALVEET OF FIJI.
this is the way in which you foreigners act in other
parts of Fiji, but I hope that nothing of the kind
will have effect here.' He spoke humbly, but his
mortification was evident. I was much pleased
with the part which the old heathen chief acted in
this matter. Muskets and powder are greatly
desired by them."
This incident illustrates a very serious obstacle in
the way of Christian missions an obstacle which
afterwards, in Fiji, became more frequent, as the
number of white residents increased. It also furnishes
the true explanation of some very severe criticisms
of missionaries and their work. The girl involved in
the above transaction was afterwards married to the
man to whom she had been engaged.
The early white settlers in the group were men of,
at least, very questionable character, and of more
than questionable antecedents. They had been
dropped there by passing vessels, or had come,
people scarcely knew how, by the chances of the
sea. They conformed to the habits of the people,
to whom they made themselves useful in many
ways, married native women, and fell into all the
This year the District Meeting was held at Viwa,
under the chairmanship of Hunt. It was a very
good meeting, made all the happier by the arrival
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 101
of two new missionaries. To Mr. Calvert it brought
most welcome help by appointing Mr. Lyth to join
him at Lakemba.
Not very long afterwards the king's brother died.
The missionaries met his principal wife, a fine,
healthy woman, returning from bathing preparatory
to being strangled. They went to the king, and
implored him to set aside the horrible custom, and
made presents by way of ransom. It was in vain.
That night she was strangled.
There is nothing of special importance to be told
of Cal vert's life in 1845, except another visit to Ono
in October, when he was witness to the wonderful
work of God which had taken place in that island.
He spent three days with them to his great joy and
refreshment. He found that, on the Sunday after
Whitsuntide, on Ndoi, a little island off the coast of
Ono, the preacher, Nathan Thataki a good and
faithful man hearing some of the people cry aloud
as he preached, was overwhelmed, and sank down to
the ground, unable to proceed. A message was sent
to Ono, begging the teacher, Silas, to come at once.
He came, and gathered the people together again
for worship ; but their emotion was so great that he
could not preach. They all betook themselves to
prayer, and the Holy Spirit fell upon them in great
power. Silas then got them to go across with him
to Ono, where they joined the people in holding
102 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
prayer meetings in the different chapels. Writing
to Hunt about his visit, Calvert says :
" The work of the Holy Spirit was in every town.
Since that time great grace has rested upon them ;
and I suppose that at least two hundred persons have
obtained peace with God through believing. I met
them several times, and heard the experience of many.
Their testimonies were very explicit as to their re-
generation and adoption. Silas, I think, was equally
clear as to his being in the possession of full salva-
tion. I gave the sacrament to nearly three hundred.
On many occasions, while I was with them, I was
almost overpowered. I found my stay to be a time of
refreshing from the presence of the Lord. The turn-
ing from Satan to God has been general. All ages, and
all classes, have been equally blessed. One effect was,
that many desired to preach, stating their willing-
ness to go to the worst parts of Fiji. To my surprise
I found that eighty-one persons had been allowed to
preach. I feared lest I should damp the work, but
could not feel free to continue so many as preachers.
I put ten on trial as local preachers, brought five
married men with me, whom we have disposed of in
our circuit, and we have kept three single men for our
branch of the Training Institution. ... I am filled
with gratitude to Almighty God for this wonderful
display of His power and love in saving so many
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 103
Fijians for saving them so abundantly and mani-
festly. I never saw any revival so clear and extensive.
Praise the Lord !
" Some of the testimonies given by the new converts
were very beautiful in their entire simplicity. One
said, ' I love the Lord ; I know He loves me, not
for anything in me, or anything I have done, but
for Christ's sake alone. I trust in Christ, and am
happy. I listen to God, that He may do with me
as He pleases. I am thankful to have lived until
the Lord's work has begun. I feel it in my heart. I
hold Jesus ! I am happy ! My heart is full of love
to God.' Another, ' I know that God has justified
me through the sacred blood of Jesus. I know
assuredly that I am reconciled to God. I know of
the work of God in my soul. The sacred Spirit
makes it clear to me. I wish to preach the Gospel,
that others also may know Jesus.' Silas Faone, a
Tongan, said, ' I possess a rejoicing heart ; I greatly
rejoice. When in Tonga I had the love of God, but
it was not complete. In Kewa I had it also. Now
in Ono, my love is perfected. It is full. I wish
only to live to God through Jesus.' "
Early in 1846 glad news came of many conver-
sions at the other side of the group where Hunt
was stationed. To him Calvert writes :
" What an omen for good ! Hundreds saved !
104 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
The two places distant. Neither knew of the other.
In one the Lord saves by native instrumentality, in
the other by the missionary. One the head of a
circuit, the other the most distant branch. Bless
God ! we are here where He works and saves saves
Fijians, forgiving and changing even them, many
and black as their crimes are, and deeply as their
hearts are depraved. This one thing have I ardently
desired. I have ardently desired to see it here ; but
iny joy and gratitude overflow to see and hear that
the Lord has saved natives by natives, and natives
by you. I greatly glory."
That which he so longed for came to pass soon
afterwards. A very remarkable work began at a
place called Wathiwathi during a service conducted
by a native preacher ; and more than thirty persons
declared that they had found peace with God through
Jesus Christ. Mr. Calvert hastened to the place the
" August 27th. This forenoon I went to Wathi-
wathi. I assembled the people, and preached, and
held a prayer-meeting. The confusion was immense ;
the work of the Lord very considerable. I dismissed
the people, and then visited them in their own
houses. I found that many could rejoice in the love
of God, and others were desiring that unspeakable
blessedness. I directed the local preachers to hold
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 105
class-meetings, and visit the people at their homes,
and then returned home. What a blessed thing to
witness the powerful effects of the grace of God ! "
" 28th. Last night, several members from two
adjacent villages went to Wathiwathi, and were
much affected in the several houses of those who
had received good.
" This morning the wife of Zephaniah Lualala, the
chief of Wathiwathi, who is of very high rank in
Lakemba, came to the king [of Lakemba] her father.
On her arrival several persons were sitting with the
king. She sat down by his side, and said, ' Sire, I
have come to beg of you to abandon heathenism,
and embrace Christianity. Heathenism is false and
useless. Religion is good, and is a very great matter.
I now know that religion is good. The Lord has
wrought mightily in my soul. I now know the
excellency of religion, and have therefore come to
beseech you to turn from falsehood to truth.' She
wept much. The king said, 'Have you only just
now known that religion is good?' She replied,
' I have known well about religion only a few days.
The Lord has changed my heart. Had I known
before I should have come to you. On finding the
power, I felt great love to you, and have now come
before you to beg you at once to decide.' He said,
' You are right and true. Most of your own relations
and friends are on your side. I shall wait a little
106 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
longer and then decide. I build no temples. I do
not attend to heathenism. There are only a few of
us left.' "
" 29th. The work of the Lord went on powerfully at
Wathiwathi yesterday. In the afternoon one of the
local preachers went to preach at Waitambu, a larger
village, two miles from Wathiwathi. In the evening,
a local preacher came to ask the Wathiwathi people
to go with him to Waitambu. They held a long
meeting, and the power of the Lord was present,
wounding very deeply, and healing some. It is said
that nearly the whole of the people of that village
also were under powerful impressions. To-day the
young men from Wathiwathi have appointed to hold
a prayer-meeting at Tarukua, a small village a mile
from us. We have also had some movement among
the Tongans here. May the Lord abundantly save all
the people in Fiji ! The pledge and foretaste are given.
"Late this evening our boys returned from Tarukua.
They report that the work of the Lord was powerful.
Several were convinced of sin, and prayed earnestly
for pardon. All who had continued heathen in that
village, except one woman, have embraced Chris-
tianity. Some of them were in great distress of
soul. In this report I exceedingly rejoice. Generally,
here, the people only formally renounce heathenism.
In their formal connection with Christianity we
rejoice, as it brings them to hear words whereby
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 107
they may be saved. But we much desire them to
turn under deep conviction of sin, earnestly seeking
redemption in the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of
sins. The morning of a brighter day, I trust, has
arisen on Fiji."
The work spread to several other places. Large
numbers lotued that is, renounced heathenism
and attended Christian worship and the schools.
Amongst these were many who became really con-
verted, and then, as Mr. Calvert says, were crying,
"0 taste and see that the Lord is good!" Two
came to him begging to be employed anywhere and
in any way to do good.
In October 1846, when the mission vessel called,
the long-dreaded suffering of parting with the
children began. It was impossible, on all grounds,
for them to be well brought up in the Islands ; and
now the eldest little boy was sent away to the care
of relatives in England. The father says, "I left
my dear boy on board. He wished to know if I
should again go to him. I gave him to God, who,
I trust, will be his Father." This was the sharpest
trial he had yet endured, and his tender heart was
greatly distressed. He declared that now, for the
first time, he began to know something of sacrifice, to
which the leaving of home and friends was as nothing.
Extracts from a letter written to the little fellow
108 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
some time afterwards, will serve to show how warm,
and strong, and gentle was the father's love.
"Very much-beloved boy, we often think about
you, and talk about you, and pray for you ; and now
I am going to talk to you.
" Four months ago we got the letter sent from New
Zealand to Fiji by an American ship. Mrs. "Wilson
told us that you were thirty-five days in sailing from
Fiji to New Zealand, and that you had very good
weather all the way. She also informed us that you
were a very good sailor, and that you were in good
health, and that all the people loved you much and
were very kind to you. All this good news pleased
us very much ; but we were much more delighted to
know that you feared God, and prayed to Him, and
that you gave your first shilling to the missionary-
box, ' because your father was a missionary.' Now
we hope you will always have these little goods
friends, and health, and food, and other temporal
blessings ; but we desire much more that you may
have great good too that you will fear, and love,
and serve the Lord from your youth. ... I am very
well now again. The Lord has restored me fully,
and I shall be happy in my work here. As you are
being taught in England, and as you are with my
very dear friend and brother, your uncle, you are
highly favoured. Your sisters are being brought up
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 109
in heathen, man-eating Fiji, whilst you are being
well instructed in England. Now, be very thankful
to God, my dear boy. He directed your way, and
caused you to be so privileged. And be sure that
you pray to God frequently with your heart. . . .
Now, mind this first of all, my boy. Get your soul
saved, and give yourself, as your father and mother
give you, to Almighty God. Give Him your heart
now fully and for ever. Obey your uncle in every-
thing, and love and obey those who teach you. Try
to understand what you are taught. Do not follow
others in bad words or deeds. Remember your
father is a missionary, and that he has given you to
God. I expect you will be a good boy, and earnestly
beseech you to be diligent to learn as much as you
can. Persevere; do not fear; be courageous; and
what appears difficult will become easy. Whatever
you see, try to understand it. Ask questions, and
think; and the Lord will help you, and bless you
very much if you pray heartily to Him."
The beginning of 1847 found Calvert suffering
another relapse of his old trouble; and evidently
much enfeebled and depressed, he thus writes to
" I frequently suffer exceedingly in my mind for
what appears to be idleness; but no sooner do I
1JO JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
apply myself somewhat closely to study, or actively
to bodily exertion, than I am upset one way or
another. It really seems that I am incapable of
doing much. Should my life be spared long which
I hardly expect I am apprehensive that I shall
continue the same unprofitable servant that I have
hitherto been. I am, however, very thankful to my
Lord that I have occupied a station where, I trust,
my one talent has been needed and useful. I love
my Saviour. I love His service. I love souls. I
have a considerably increased desire to do good, and
should rejoice to see the translation of the Bible
completed, and all Fiji converted nominally, and
thousands really, and to get better prepared for the
solemn change, and strict and impartial judgment,
and the holy place. However, I can be easily spared;
and I humbly and heartily trust in the Almighty
Saviour for present and eternal salvation. The Lord
fully prepare me for all His righteous will."
Some months later, in better health, he could
write in a brighter strain.
" It will afford you pleasure to hear that I enjoy
uninterrupted health; and, what is far better, my
soul is very substantially happy. The Lord blesses
me with constant peace and joy through believing.
I trust that I am progressing, and that I shall do so
much more. I am under very powerful obligations
LAKE MB A AND ONO. Ill
to love and serve God much more heartily and fully
than I have hitherto done. I have much delight in
the work of the Lord."
In January 1848 a great trouble came, in the
serious illness of Mrs. Calvert, whose health until
then had been almost uniformly good. She was
attacked by violent inflammation. Her husband
had added much to his slender medical knowledge
by extensive practice among the natives; but he
sorely felt the present exigency, while he resolutely
set himself to carry out what was then held to be the
right treatment bleeding her " very copiously four
times," and applying large blisters. Again and
again she seemed to be dying, and took farewell
of her loved ones, and committed them to God's
keeping. Mr. Calvert writes : " The Lord showed
Himself strong to save ; the inflammation gradually
became less, and she recovered."
In the course of the year, the greatest sorrow that
he had known fell upon him. In July he heard
that Hunt was ill, and wrote to him :
" My dear friend, love me ; love us in Fiji ; love
Fiji, and spare yourself. I stand tremblingly in
doubt of you. Why do you overset yourself, and
almost break my heart ? I can labour and endure
in the work ; but your doing more than God requires,
and wasting your energies, oppresses me and unmans
112 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
me. I charge you, before God and the Lord Jesus
Christ, whose we are, and before whom we shall soon
stand, to take care of your body as well as your soul."
A closer, tenderer friendship never was than that
which bound these two together. For some time
past Calvert had been greatly troubled by hearing
of the amount of work which Hunt was doing at and
from Viwa. He had already completed the transla-
tion of the New Testament, and had, without rest,
thrown all his energy into the translation of the
Old, which he hoped to complete in five or six years
more. He was chairman of the whole district, and
took the most active interest in the administration
of all its affairs. He travelled a great deal, exposed
to all sorts of weather in open canoes, and never
spared himself when there was opportunity to teach
and do good. Latterly he had been stimulated to
fresh exertions by most remarkable success. Now
the dreaded breakdown had come.
In September the District Meeting assembled in
Viwa; and thus the two, who were more than brothers
to each other, were together, when one was called away.
When the rumour spread that Hunt was likely to
die there was a great consternation among the
people. They came together into the chapel to
pray for him. One after another pleaded with
tears on his behalf; and Elijah Verani, their chief,
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 113
cried out, " Lord, we know we are very bad,
but spare Thy servant. If one must die, take me !
Take ten of us ! But spare Thy servant to preach
Christ to the people ! " For a while the imminent
danger seemed to be removed, and there was great
thanksgiving. Katu David, a Christian Mbau chief,
said, in prayer, " We were in trouble ; we feared that
Thou wert about to take away the light, and leave
us in darkness on account of our sins that Thou
wert about to quench the light, and remove from us
him who had taught us the Word of life. But we
stayed Thy hands; we refused to let him go; and, for
Christ's sake, Thou didst hear the prayer of sinners."
After several quiet weeks there came a relapse,
and with it much mental conflict. The very inten-
sity of the dying missionary's zeal, and the wide
reach of his soul's purpose, suggested to him the
thought that his life had failed, had been, as he
moaned, "worthless and unprofitable worse than
useless." Then came into his troubled soul the
recollection of the success which had been won, and,
together with it, this word : " If I be not an apostle
to others, yet doubtless I am to you ; for the seal of
my apostleship are ye in the Lord " ; and so he had
victory. He now had with him his faithful and
much-loved friend Calvert. Few men ever knew
each other's secret souls with a more trustful in-
timacy than did these two. While one read the
114 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Word and prayed, the dying man declared his rest
and joy in the Lord. Then he wept, at first silently,
afterwards with uncontrolled sobbing, until the
passion of his heart broke forth in the prayer,
"Lord, bless Fiji ! save Fiji ! Thou knowest my
soul has loved Fiji ; my heart has travailed in pain
for Fiji!" His friend said to him, "The Lord
knows you love Fiji. We know it. The Fijian
Christians know it, and the heathen of Fiji know
it. You have laboured hard for Fiji when you
were strong, now you are so weak you must be
silent. God will save Fiji ; He is saving Fiji."
Calmed for a time, he presently grasped Calvert
with one hand, and, lifting the other, cried out, " Oh,
let me pray once more for Fiji ! Lord, for Christ's
sake, bless Fiji, save Fiji ! save Thy servants, save
Thy people, save the heathen in Fiji ! " In the few
days that were left he spoke only of trust and peace
in Christ. When the last moments came, they
heard him say, " Now He is my joy ! I thought I
should have entered heaven singing, 'Jesus and
salvation ! ' Now I shall enter singing, ' Jesus,
salvation, and glory eternal glory ! ' ' Trying in
vain to raise himself, he exclaimed, " Hallelujah !
Hallelujah ! " again and again, till his voice weakened
into silence. Having sent messages to the mission-
aries and their wives, to the native Christians, and the
chiefs especially to Thakombau and having com-
LAKEMBA AND ONO. 115
mended his children, and, last of all, his devoted
wife, to God's loving keeping, he asked Calvert to
pray, and spoke no more. Presently he turned on
his side, and took hold on his friend, who put his arms
round him, and, as he held him, knew that the long,
close, dear brotherhood on earth had come to an end.
For a time Calvert seemed wholly stricken down
by the blow. He had rested and had exulted in the
love and the gifts of his friend, which supplied
very conscious wants of his own nature ; and there
is no doubt that in meeting the difficulties of the
years spent at Lakemba, often in much suffering
and weakness, and consequent depression, he was
greatly helped by the strong, faithful counsels and
Christian sympathy of Hunt's letters.
But the growing claims of the mission left no time
for inactive sorrow. There was more than ever now
to be done by those who were left. Calvert's
removal to Viwa had long been discussed, and now
it was determined that it should take place forth-
with. So urgent was the need of his immediate
help on this side of the group, that he was retained
at Viwa, and arrangements were made for the bringing
of Mrs. Calvert and the children.
After nearly ten years' life and work at Lakemba,
Mr. Calvert thus writes :
" I have lived in great peace in Lakemba, have
116 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
been on friendly terms with all, and have been con-
nected with a most extensive spread of Christianity
in Lakemba and its dependencies. There by far the
best part of my life has been spent. I feel heartily
attached to the people and the place, and could
gladly spend there the residue of my days, were I
directed by God's all-wise providence to remain.
Lakemba is to me more than all the world besides.
Yet, where God commands and directs, I cheerfully
go. I only desire to be where He appears, and do
what He requires, for the few remaining days He
may employ me. . . . While I have endeavoured
to be faithful towards God and with men, I have to
mourn over much unfaithfulness, but thankfully
rejoice that the Lord has blessed me, and done all
things well. Lakemba, I love thee! Farewell!
From thee I cannot be separated ! My prayers,
thoughts, efforts, shall still be towards thee. I hope
many thence will be the crown of my rejoicing in
the day of the Lord Jesus. I fear I shall be witness
against many who perish after frequent and faithful
warning. I laboured diligently, I trust, to do the
people good, temporally and spiritually ; and God
accompanied many of my efforts with His blessing.
My five children born there are all alive. Praise the
Lord for all His goodness ! Lord, bless abundantly
and for ever Lakemba and all its dependencies ! "
How the Lord provided a Printer. Thakombau. War and its
Horrors. Heroism of Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth. Signs
of Success. A Great Grief. Mediation to procure Peace.
Lakemba revisited. Death of Tanoa. Horrible Observances
State Visit of TuiThakau. Hard Struggle with Cannibalism.
Elijah Verani. Thakombau Lotus. A Great Joy. Narrow
Escape at Moturiki. Another Visit to Lakemba. Great
Value of Lyth's Training Work. Troublous Times. Media-
tion Work. End of Cannibalism at Mbau. Visit of King
George of Tonga. A Voyage with the King. Establishment
of Peace, and Spread of Christianity. Leaving Fiji. Call at
station at which Mr. Calvert now settled
was close to Mbau, the seat of the dominant
power in Fiji. This town, where the supreme chief
lived, stands upon an islet of the same name, barely
a mile broad, close to the south-eastern point of
Viti Levu Great Fiji an island ninety miles in
length, and having, it was then reckoned, a population
of fifty thousand. Mbau is almost joined to the
mainland by a flat of coral, which, at low water, is
nearly dry, and even at high water is fordable. Two
miles to the north of this, somewhat further from the
mainland, and, though a small island, yet much
larger than Mbau, is Viwa. It was a place of great
importance, ruled over by Namosimalua, a notable
chief, something of whose career we have already
related (p. 39).
Calvert had now the welcome advantage of having
Lyth as his colleague, whose medical skill gave him
great fame among the natives, and earned for him
the title of Matai ni mate, carpenter of illness.
120 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Amongst the many instances in the history of this
mission, in which great emergencies were met by
special providence of the Head of the Church, none
was more remarkable than the supply, in the most
unexpected way, of help in the publishing work.
The press had been removed, nine years before, to
this part of the group, and was now at Viwa. The
missionary who had managed it had recently left ;
and Calvert, on removing to Viwa, was much con-
cerned about the business of this department, which
had greatly increased. He felt certain that he
could not undertake it and do justice to the rapidly
growing claims of the general mission work. He
was cheerfully willing to give it the oversight of his
skilled knowledge, but he could not enter upon the
labour of the printing and binding. Yet this was a
matter of very pressing importance. The demand
for Scriptures and other books was growing fast ;
and, as yet, there was no one in the Colonies, or in
England, with such a knowledge of the language as
to make it possible to get the printing done there.
Many years afterwards Mr. Calvert thus gave the
history of the crisis, and how the help was wonder-
fully provided :
" When our printer failed in that far-off and out-
of-the-way country, we were placed in great diffi-
culty, as a new edition of the New Testament and
other books were urgently required. We ordered a
man from London, who would rough it, be content
with the poor fare and small pay and hard work we
were accustomed to ; but such a man was not found.
Then it came to pass that a French Count, an
infidel, who was wrecked in Fiji from an American
beche-de-mer vessel, was deeply awakened, and
sought and found mercy and saving grace. He was
completely reformed, and wished for employment
with us. I taught him printing and bookbinding,
which he quickly learnt ; and just then, when we
were in deepest need, he became a most efficient
labourer with us. He could make sails, splice a
rope, pull an oar, sail a schooner, floor a house, put
in windows, make a door, and fit it in. He became
a teacher in our school, and a good local preacher.
The people felt that he loved them, and would
cheerfully and heartily do anything for their
benefit; and the best of our converts from any
part of Fiji were very ready to settle down and
work for him ; so that we had a good staff of
energetic and cheap workers in our printing and
book-binding establishment. A new edition of the
New Testament and all the books we required were
well done, and quickly supplied, helping on the
work amazingly. A whole-hearted and capable man
like that was beyond all price. Had one been made
to order, on purpose for our needs and work, he
122 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
could not have been better adapted. And this
event proved to us the all-sufficiency of God's re-
sources; and just at the right and very best time
the urgent demand was suitably supplied, and with-
out any cost ! "
The most interesting feature of Calvert's mission
life at this period was in his relation to the great
chief, Thakombau, who, though his father, the old
Tanoa, was yet living, was the real ruler of Mbau
and its wide dependencies. He was a man of great
sagacity, and much strength of character. His
attitude towards Christianity was avowedly hostile ;
but there was good evidence that his sometimes
angry opposition was really stimulated by his un-
willing convictions that the new religion was right.
In the meantime the old king remained apparently
untouched by it. Already Calvert had had some
intercourse with Thakombau, who, on one occasion,
had spent several weeks in Lakemba. The mission-
ary had long ago been much impressed by a little
book, Suggestions for the Conversion of ttte World,
by the late Rev. Robert Young, who shows how, if
each Christian believer, by special prayer and effort,
brought about the salvation of one person, the con-
version of the whole world would soon be accom-
plished. Thakombau was early singled out by Mr.
Calvert as the subject of such prayer, and he begged
the Christians at Lakemba to join him in intercession
on behalf of the powerful chief. Now he was brought
into close and frequent contact with him; but at
first his influence seemed to be endangered by a
decisive step which he felt obliged to take. In the
early days of the mission it had been thought wise
to gain the favour of the people, and especially the
chiefs, by a somewhat lavish distribution of gifts.
Whether this policy was right or not at the time,
it was fast growing into a vicious system, which
threatened to mislead the people as to the great
object of the mission. Immediately on his arrival
at Viwa, Calvert explained the whole matter very
plainly to Thakombau, and showed him why this
way of doing things must come to an end. He
finished by saying :
"My one concern will be to lead you to obtain
religion ; so you may expect, in all our intercourse,
that I shall labour for this. Another and inferior
matter I shall gladly attend to. I have brought
medicines from England, and have gained some
knowledge of diseases and their remedy, and shall
have pleasure in relieving you of pain when I can,
that your life may be prolonged for repentance,
prayer, and the service of God. While this is the
only object I have in view, I know that you are
destitute of many articles which we have in England,
124 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
and which would increase your comfort. Some of
these I can obtain for you by writing to my friends
in England. I shall be glad to do so, as I should
like to see you improved and raised in temporal
matters. Only, when I send for goods, I have to
pay for them; and you must pay for whatever I
obtain for you. We give our time and energies for
your salvation, but we have not come to supply you
with worldly riches. Yet, if you will pay for what
you require, we will try to obtain useful articles for
The chief had just received a handsome gift,
presented by the missionary, according to custom, on
his coming to live under his protection, and accepted
the new order with fairly good grace. A great
difficulty had thus been met, and a very important
No opportunity was lost of talking faithfully to
Thakombau, who also would come to Viwa, and
sometimes spend hours at the mission-house, cleverly
eliciting the Christian arguments which told specially
against the old religion. These he would afterwards
use in disputing with his own priests and chiefs,
greatly enjoying their discomfiture. But, though
he was evidently restrained in his opposition to the
Lotu, he yielded in no other respect to its claims.
His despotic power was very great and extending,
so that the amount of wealth which he amassed in
the way of tribute was, perhaps, unprecedented.
He saw clearly enough that the principles of
Christianity would make impossible some of the
policy and the means by which he extended his
power and his possessions, and his interest silenced
In the town of Mbau Christian worship was pro-
hibited ; but it was permitted at Sembi, a 'place
near by on the mainland, where lived some of old
Tanoa's wives, several of whom attended the services.
At the same time, in the closing months of this
year, wars and cruel acts of violence were frequent
round about, and the cannibal ovens in Mbau were
In the following year Calvert voyaged far, and saw
much to encourage and much to dishearten him
in his work. Close at home the darkness of war
thickened, and many terrible scenes took place. A
place called Tokea was taken treacherously by the
Mbau people, and a hundred persons, chiefly women
and children, were killed.
" I have frequently visited Mbau, and had long
conversations with the chief about religion. I have
ardently urged him to stop the war which has so
long raged, and in which, it is said, two thousand
lives have been sacrificed. I have pressed him hard
126 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
to spare the chief in the mountains. I have placed
before him the scandal of killing so many of the
young, and of women who have no concern in the
war. Two of the bodies brought from Tokea were
sent from Mbau to the few heathen living on this
island [Viwa], to be eaten. The person who brought
them left them on the beach, fastened to a stake
in the sea by a vine. He reported secretly to the
heathen. On being informed of this, and that the
heathens had gone to fetch them for cooking, I
called on Mr. Lyth, and we went in search of them.
Not finding them, we returned. I went to a young
Christian chief, and sent him for them. He floated
them round the island, and brought them near to
my house. I provided two mats, in which he and
a man living with me wrapped them. A grave was
dug, and they were buried. I do not hear that
many were eaten, I think very few indeed. Many
floated round Mbau, and drifted to different parts of
the beach on the large land. Some drifted here."
It was in July of this year, while the two mission-
aries were away in another part of the group, that a
great cannibal banquet was prepared at Mbau, four-
teen women having been kidnapped for the purpose.
Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth, in sacred heroism, set
out in a canoe with a Christian chief, and landed
amongst the people, who were wrought into savage
excitement by the loud beating of the great death-
drum, and the firing of muskets, as well as by the
prospect of the horrible feast. These two noble
women, to his bewildered astonishment, confronted
the old king himself, and pleaded for the lives of
the victims. They had their reward in the rescue
of five of the women. All the rest but two went to
About this time several British men-of-war visited
Fiji ; and their commanders did excellent service to
the mission by urging Thakombau, in very strong
terms, to abandon cannibalism. It was known that
an expedition was soon to come from Somosomo,
bringing tribute. On these occasions it had always
been the custom to entertain such powerful visitors
with the most lavish hospitality, and especially with
large numbers of human victims. At last the regent
chief gave his word that this part of the feast should
not be provided ; and the promise was kept. The
preparation, in other respects, was on a magnificent
scale. Calvert went across to Mbau to see the
formal presentation of food to the visitors. There
was a huge structure of basket work, more than thirty
feet long, filled with food. He counted " nineteen
cooked pigs on the top, with their snouts all pointing
one way." A day or two before there had been
presented one hundred and three pigs. It was a great
thing to have secured that no cannibal provision
128 JAMES CALVERT OF PUT.
should be made by the supreme chief, although Mr.
Calvert found that other chiefs had not followed
his example. " I preached," he writes, " at Mbau ;
and heard that several cooked bodies had been
brought from Tui Levuka."
The people of a certain town had rebelled against
Mbau, but now fully submitted themselves. Mr.
Calvert, knowing that, notwithstanding their sur-
render, the severest reprisals were in preparation,
went to Thakombau, and pleaded for their lives.
The answer was : " Why, your own doctrine is, that
the wages of sin is death. They have acted very
wickedly in beginning war by murder when all was
peace, and I wish them all to be killed, that we
may be at rest. If they be spared, they will raise
evil up again, as on two former occasions when we
forgave them." It was an easy thing for the
missionary to turn this adroit use of a Christian
truth ; and, in the end, with great difficulty, he
gained his point.
That the influence of the truth was steadily in-
creasing was shown in many ways, sometimes very
strangely, as when the friends of a sick man, who
came to the mission-house for medicine, seriously
asked Mr. Calvert whether, in the event of the man's
death, he thought they might strangle his wife.
He naively remarks, " This is the first time I have
been consulted on this point from Mbau." Terrible
atrocities were still committed ; yet it was felt to be
a great advance when Tui Viti #s Thakombau was
then called promised, in reply to Calvert's admoni-
tions, that in the case of the death of common men
the strangling of their widows should be done away
with. Yet he added, " But in my father's case, ten
will be strangled."
Towards the close of this year a great sorrow fell
upon Mr. Calvert and his devoted wife. They had
already sent their eldest boy to relations in England,
and had heard of his safe arrival and well-doing there.
Later, when Mrs. Hunt was returning home after
her husband's death, they entrusted to her their
firstborn, their little Mary, now nearly ten years old.
After her departure, more than a year and a half
since, they had received no news from England.
The coming of the Wesley was always an event of
most exciting interest. Her arrival in 1850 was
looked for with unusual eagerness by the hearts
which hungered for tidings. Another missionary,
too, was coming in the vessel. When, therefore, she
came near, and before she could cast anchor, Mr.
Calvert put off in a canoe to hasten on board. In
his glad impatience he did not notice that the
Wesley had her flag at half-mast ; but the poor
mother on shore saw the death-signal, and was filled
with sad forebodings. He climbed on deck, beam-
ing forth joyful greetings, and then started, in
130 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
questioning surprise, at the looks of sorrow which met
him. Little Mary was dead. Broken-hearted, the
father went ashore, carrying to the stricken mission-
house letters seven months old, telling them at the
same time of their darling's coming, of her winning
the love of those with whom she found her new
home, of her sickness, and of her death.
It was a terrible grief, but their life's great work
must be done, and within a week of the Wesley's
arrival the mourning father sailed in her on a long
tour of visitation among the islands.
This year also closed in the turmoil of frequent
war. Now the scene of strife was on the other great
island, Vanua Levu, and two of the missionaries,
Moore and Williams, at Nandi and Mbua, were
surrounded by it, and in great peril. Many of the
people there were Christians ; and thus the quarrel
already was taking -the form of a war against the
lotu. If Thakombau did not actually instigate the
war, he could arrest it whenever he chose ; so Calvert,
accompanied by Elijah Verani, went to him to beg
his interference for the protection of the missionaries.
" The chief seemed to be in a good humour, but
said very decisively that he would have nothing to do
with it. He was reminded of his promise to Captain
Erskine [of H.M.S. HavannaJi] to protect the
missionaries ; but still he refused, saying, ' I shall
not protect them ; and I rejoice that you have now
a fight of your own. When I ask you lotu people to
help me in war, you say, " No ; it is not lawful for
Christians to fight ! " And here are we breaking our
backs steering our canoes, catching dysentery by
sleeping abroad in the dews and rains, and being
shot in great numbers, whilst the Christians sit
quietly at home all the time. Now you have a fight
of your own ; and I am glad of it ! Besides, I hate
your Christianity ! ' 'I know,' replied the mission-
ary, ' that you hate religion. I knew it before
leaving England ; and have long known that, every-
where, " the carnal mind is enmity against God ; for
it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed
can be " ; so that I should have been altogether
surprised had I found you not hating religion.'
With a sneer he said, ' Oh yes, of course you know
everything. However, at any rate, I shall not stop
the fight; and I rejoice that you lotu people are
compelled to fight as well as I ; and I hate your
Christianity.' ' Well,' said Mr. Calvert, ' seeing you
do hate it, what are you going to do with it ? Do
you intend to stop its progress ? ' ' No,' was the
answer ; ' I cannot do that. I know that it is true,
and the work of God, and that we shall all become
Christian. But, in the meantime, I delight in you
Christians being compelled to engage in war as well
as I.' "
132 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
On the first day of 1851, Mr. Calvert started in a
large Tongan canoe for the seat of war, and after
much difficulty reached Mbua. Things were in a
most critical state, so that he despatched another
urgent message to Tui Viti, calling upon him to
interfere. At last Thakombau seemed to wake up
to the greatness of the danger, and sent a chief with
orders to stop the war. For some time he acted
very capriciously, now favouring and now hindering
the work of the mission. He and his aged father
renewed their permission for a missionary to live at
Mbau, promising to build the necessary premises on
the mainland. Then again war set everything else
aside. Great preparations were made, during which,
for three days, Mr. Calvert stayed, and was very kindly
treated, in Thakombau's own house. Large offerings
were presented at the temples to secure success ; but
the promises of the priests came to nothing, and the
During this year the District Meeting was held
at Lakemba, and Mr. Calvert had thus an oppor-
tunity of revisiting his old circuit, and was greatly
cheered and refreshed by seeing how the work had
extended there. Tui Nayau, the King of Lakemba,
for whose conversion Mr. Calvert had prayed earnestly,
and worked hard, had at last lotued, and the last trace
of opposition to Christianity on the part of the rulers
in Lakemba came to an end. Two years afterwards,
" The chief priest of the god of Tumbou, and the
last of the order in Lakemba, was received on trial
for Church membership, having long been anxious
about his soul. His daughter was already a class-
leader, and one of his sons a zealous member. . . .
The people were reformed outwardly, being decently
clothed, and having relinquished their obscene mid-
night dances and songs in favour of the pure worship
of God. Their domestic condition was greatly im-
proved by the lessening of polygamy. Christianity
gave the Fijians what they never had truly before
a home. Those who had known Lakemba and its
dependencies twelve years ago marvelled at the
almost universal change which had been brought
about. Scarcely a temple was left standing, and
the sacred terraced foundations on which they were
once were now cultivated as garden plots. Club-law
was utterly abolished. A fine chapel, to which the
people eagerly flocked, graced every town, and not a
heathen priest was left. About eight hundred chil-
dren were assembled daily in the schools, and nearly
two-thirds of the adult population were Church mem-
bers, affording good evidence of their desire to ' flee
from the wrath to come ' ; while a large and growing
number gave every reason to believe that they were
renewed by the Holy Ghost. During this and the
previous year one thousand three hundred baptisms
were registered, eight hundred adults, none of
134 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
whom received this sacrament without having
brought 'forth fruits meet for repentance,' and
showed a sincere desire to trust on Christ for salva-
tion. Everywhere, too, was found a great hunger
for the Word of God. The mission press could
supply but a small number of Testaments ; and the
missionaries were pained in being obliged to refuse
the people, who were willing to pay well of their
property, or make any sacrifice, to obtain the Scrip-
tures." (Fiji and the Fijians, p. 336.)
In 1852 the long-expected event, greatly dreaded
by the missionaries, took place. The old Mbau
king, Tanoa, died. Mr. Calvert, who had gone to
Ovalau two days before, thus tells, simply and
briefly, the dreadful story.
" Tanoa died on the morning of the 8th of
December, 1852, when Tui Viti [Thakombau], in
spite of light and conviction and entreaties from all
quarters, wantonly murdered five women. Several
captains of ships of war had laid particular injunc-
tions on Tui Viti not to commit this murder. Mr.
Watsford and I have continually been urging him to
refrain. He was alarmed ; but has still done the deed.
" Previous to rny going away we offered four large
whales' teeth. Afterwards we made the number
ten, weighing twenty pounds. I offered to have my
finger cut off.
" The night before the king's death, Mr. Watsford
stopped till near midnight urging and entreating.
He offered our boat, twenty muskets, and all he
possessed. A short time after the death Mr.
Watsford arrived. Two were strangled. He ap-
peared before the chief, who, with an awful look,
trembling and excited, said, ' What about it, Mr.
Watsford ? ' Mr. Watsford replied, ' Refrain, sir ;
that is plenty ! Two are dead. Refrain ! I love
them.' The chief said, ' We also love them. They
are not many only five. But for you missionaries
many more would have been strangled.' He pro-
ceeded with his hellish work, and helped to murder
the whole five, and then ran away through a back
door. . . . We are very sorrowful, but have the
comfort of knowing that our utmost efforts were
made. We also are thankful that we were per-
mitted to protest boldly, fully, fearlessly to the last
against the murder." *
This was a time of great gloom ; but it was not
wholly dark. It was undeniably true that the
horrible orgies of death at the king's house would
have been far worse had it not been for the in-
fluence of Christian teaching. Occasional acts of
cannibalism still took place at Mbau ; but it was
* Full particulars of this terrible tragedy may be read in
Fiji and the Fijiam ; and in The King and People of Fiji, by
the Rev. Joseph Waterhouse.
136 JAMES CALVEET OF FIJI.
well known that, for some time past, Tui Yiti him-
self had not tasted human flesh. Best of all, just
when the encouragement was needed most, there
were a number of very interesting and striking cases
of conversion, of which Mr. Calvert makes thankful
In 1853 a great thing was accomplished in the
issuing from the mission press of a large revised
edition of the New Testament in the Fijian lan-
Mr. Calvert writes :
" On the 21st of April we finished ,the printing of
three thousand copies of the New Testament, with
one thousand extra of Matthew, and one thousand
extra of Matthew with Komans and Philippians.
Mr. Martin has worked hard by day and night.
Mr. Rees has rendered constant and efficient help
for eleven weeks. Our pressmen (trained natives)
have toiled almost beyond their strength, some of
them looking very pale under their unusually hard
" The Book can now easily have what corrections
may be further necessary marked for an edition in
London, which, I think, should be attended to as
soon as may be, so that it may be ready to forward
to London whenever a favourable opportunity offers
by the presence in England of a Fijian missionary
(which is indispensable), for having ten thousand
copies printed and bound there."
When he wrote thus, he certainly had no idea that
he was to be the returned missionary who should
be entrusted with this important work.
In July the time came round again for the state
visit of the King of Somosomo, at which it had been
customary to provide a great feast of human flesh.
Mr. Owen, a trader, who was in thorough sympathy
with the mission, brought Tui Thakau, the Somosomo
chief, in his vessel.
"About five o'clock this morning," writes Mr.
Calvert, "I was informed that eighteen persons of
the Ndau ni Nakelo tribe had been killed. I
hastened to Mbau, where I arrived just after sunrise.
I found that one had escaped in the night, twelve
were dead, and five still living. They were laid out
or sitting at the temples in Lasakau and Soso (the
fishermen's quarter). It was harrowing to see the
mangled bodies, and to look on, and be looked
at anxiously by those still alive. I proceeded at
once to Tui Viti. He was about being appointed
Vunivalu.* I took with me two whales' teeth. I
showed him the account in the Missionary Notices
of Mrs. Calvert and Mrs. Lyth applying to his father
* The highest official title of the Mbau king, the conferring
of which was, in effect, his formal investiture as sovereign.
138 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
for the lives of those who had been kidnapped by the
former king of the fishermen, and laid a tooth on
the record, and requested him to do as his father had
done by sparing the lives of those still alive. I then
showed him the letter in which was written his
promise to Lieutenant Pollard, of H.M.S. the
Bramble, that he would not, after that visit of the
King of Somosomo, allow any more human beings to
be cooked at Mbau ; and I entreated him to permit
all that were dead to be buried. He was calm, and
tolerably respectful. I referred to the strangling of
the five women, and said that, if he spared the
prisoners of war, and buried the dead, it would some-
what counteract the disgrace of that crime, and would
show that he was disposed to follow the light, and
the better feelings of his mind and heart, and give
up the disgraceful practices of Fiji. After further
talk, he said that I might go to the chief of the
fishermen [the official cannibal purveyor] and ask
him to spare the li ves of the living, and to the King
of Somosomo, and ask him not to eat the dead.
Knowing the uselessness of this, I refused. He then
said, 'It is in my power alone to save the living,
and have the dead buried. What I choose I do, and
none can interfere.'
" After some time I heard that one more was killed;
and I again urged him to send orders that no more
should be killed. He refused. A report then came
that all were killed. I left, telling him that I was
free from all blame, which would rest wholly on him.
On going to Lasakau I found five still alive. I
went to the chief of the fishermen, who, observing
my approach, went away. I hastened, and found
him in the temple. He was much confused, and
declared that the victim who had been allotted to
him as his share he had set at liberty as an offering
to me, and the whole outrage had been done by
the direct orders of the king. The fact was that
the man who was missing had made his own escape.
I went to speak to the living. Two of them ap-
peared to be insensible. I conversed with three,
and besought them to trust in that almighty, and
all-loving Saviour who had saved the thief on the
cross, and was able to save their souls from guilt and
hell, and to unite their bodies and souls in glory for
ever. As these men were alive, I was unwilling to
leave. Not finding Tui Viti, I went to see the Soso
chief and two of his people who had been wounded
in the affray. I also went to the King of Somosomo,
and spoke to him against the horrible practice of
eating human flesh. He said they did not wish to
eat it ; and he should rejoice if I would prevail upon
the Mbau chief not to send the bodies to him ; but, if
they were sent, they dared not refuse to eat them,
as they were subject to Mbau, and in great fear.
" I went to Vata-ni-Tawaki (the great temple). A
140 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
great shout throughout Mbau announced that Tui
Viti had drunk the yaiiggona of the Vunivalu, and
was installed into the office of the head chief. Then
a shout from Lasakau made known that, their pre-
parations being completed, they were dragging the
bodies to the temple. They held the hands of the
dead, and dragged them on their backs with their
heads grating on the ground. The head .of the first
was dashed against a great stone, and the others were
heaped upon it. There was much evidently sup-
pressed glee, while I looked on and reproved them.
A chief asked me if I should like one of the bodies
to eat. I publicly expressed my pain at the gross
" At noon I departed, feeling tired and faint. Surely
such heathenism calls for effort. In the midst of all,
one feels much encouraged to labour fearlessly and
hard ; for there is something in the people on which
our pleading tells. These evils and abominations
must give way. May the Lord ' bind the strong
man,' and spoil his goods, and establish the reign
Mr. Calvert then went with Mr. Owen, the owner
of the vessel which had brought the King of Somo-
somo to Mbau, and told the chief that he should not
be allowed to return on her if the horrible feast were
eaten. After much persuasion, he said that he dare
not prevent the cooking of the flesh, but that, when
the ovens were opened next morning, the contents
should be given up for burial. On the next day this
was done, and Mr. Owen brought in a boat to Viwa
eighty-four cooked portions of the victims, which
were forthwith buried.
During this year the missionaries lost a faithful
friend and valuable ally in the good Christian chief
of Viwa, Verani, who lost his life in an attempt to
avert war; and thus there disappeared one of the
noblest figures from the mission scene. He had
always been a man of great power and influence.
In the old stormy days he was the chosen and
staunch friend of Thakombau, and was foremost
in every deed of violence. His very name the
Fijian imitation of the word " France " was the
record of an atrocious crime. A French trader was
anchored off his island of Viwa, and, acting under
orders from Mbau, he killed all on board, and pil-
laged the vessel. As a warrior, he was famous for
his fearless and ferocious courage. Mr. Cross had
earnestly prayed and worked for the young chiefs
conversion. He received much consideration and
kindness from him, but for a long time saw no
sign of change. Yet Verani was gradually getting
interested in the new religion ; and, unlike all
others, even began to learn to read without joining
the lotu. He continued in his old course, and led
142 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
his terrible band of picked warriors in several scenes
of frightful carnage. But a change had begun.
With growing knowledge of the truth, he discovered
the evil of his own life, and an awakened conscience
made the brave man fearful. Several of his people,
who had become Christians, were very intent upon
helping him to do right. In their watchful kind-
ness they found out that there were times when he
went stealthily into the woods to pray ; and, while
engaged in actual war, he was known to kneel and
call upon God to protect him. At last, he asked
from his superior chief and friend, Thakombau,
permission to lotu. It was refused, and he was
recommended to wait yet awhile. But the man's
convictions had become so strong that he could no
longer resist them ; and he resolved, at all cost, to
take the decisive step. His public renouncing of
heathenism brought upon him immediately insult
and outrage. But he never faltered. His greatest
suffering was caused by the loss of the friendship of
Thakombau, who was much exasperated at Verani's
change ; though he said to others, " Did I not tell
that we could not turn Verani ? He is a man of one
heart. When he was with us he was fully one with
us ; now he is a Christian, he is decided, and not to
be moved." This opinion was formed upon a very
intimate knowledge, and was fully justified. Verani
announced his intention to be thorough by putting
away all his wives but one. When his old heathen
friends remonstrated with him, and advised him to
keep them as servants, he replied, " You are on the
devil's side. If my wife cannot manage in our
house, I will help her to get wood, and to cook our
food ; but I will not continue to sin against God."
His remorse for his past crimes was very sincere, and
his penitence genuine and deep. When, after many
days of earnest prayer, he found peace with God,
through faith in Jesus Christ, all men knew how real
and thorough was the change.
" Though Verani refused, on behalf of himself
and the Christians, to engage in war, saying, ' I
have already fought too much ; I have done now ' ;
yet his was too earnest and active a nature to
remain idle. But he had now espoused another
cause. One day, less than two months after his
conversion, Verani ordered his great war-canoe to be
launched. A dark day was it, in time past, for some
town or island, when the great sail of that canoe
went up to the wild shouts of the painted warriors
who thronged the deck ; but it was far otherwise
now. Verani, directed by the new power of love to
God and man, was setting sail to carry the mis-
sionary to the distant islands under his charge ; and
wherever the war-canoe of the dreaded chieftain
touched it brought ' the fulness of the blessing of
Ui JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
the Gospel of peace.' The sound conversion of this
man was a great help to the mission. His decision
for God, his marriage to one wife, his willingness to
become poor and despised, were a subject of wonder
and inquiry throughout Fiji. And wherever he
went his simple zeal and earnestness increased the
wonder, and drew more fixed attention to the re-
ligion which had wrought so marvellous a change."
Hunt was the missionary whom he carried, and
wrote thus about the memorable voyage :
" I have visited the Christians at Ovalau. Verani
took me, and behaved in a very becoming manner
during the time we were absent. He strongly
recommended the lotu to all the people with whom
we had intercourse. In fact, he made it his busi-
ness, and went for the express purpose of persuading
the Ovalau people to throw up their heathenism.
He persuaded some, and got the promise of others
to join before long. He visited a town or two by
himself, to teach them what he knew. I quite
admired his untiring efforts, and felt ashamed of
myself. During the seven days that we were to-
gether, I heard no unbecoming expression from his
lips. When not engaged with the heathen or
Christians in conversing on religion, he was con-
stantly reading his book, and asking the meaning of
what lie read. He also kept all his men closely to
their reading, day by day, and persuaded some
heathen chiefs, who came to see him, to learn the
alphabet, which was accomplished by two young
men in two hours, much to our satisfaction. They
would probably return again to their town and think
no more of it ; but we cannot but admire Verani's
earnest desire for the welfare of others."
At his baptism Verani received the name of
Elijah, and called his house Kirica, or Cherith.
He became a very effective preacher, and held
himself ready for any work in the service of the
mission, while he lost no opportunity of using his
influence to prevent war, or to mitigate its horrors.
In 1853, Thakombau found himself beset more and
more closely with difficulties and peril. The white
men on the island of Ovalau were actively plotting
against him. In the mountainous interior of Ovalau
were certain tribes which were subject to Viwa.
These were bought over by bribes supplied by the
whites, and revolted from their hitherto acknow-
ledged chief, Verani. A very grave crisis was then
brought about, and Thakombau consulted with
Verani as to the best way of meeting it. Mes-
sengers were despatched to call upon the insurgents
to return to their allegiance ; but they found things
had gone so far that they were afraid to land.
146 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Hereupon Verani declared his purpose to go to
them himself. Mr. Calvert saw how great was the
risk, and tried to persuade him not to go to the
hill-town, Lavoni. Verani said, " Prevent me not ;
for we shall not escape unless Lavoni be regained.
I sent, but they could not get ashore. I will go
myself and try." As he was setting out, he said,
" This may be the time of my removal. That I
leave." The missionary prayed with him, and they
parted with tears. When on board his boat he bade
his brother farewell, and exhorted him, should he
fall, to be faithful as a Christian. And so the chief
set out, without flinching, upon an enterprise far
more heroic than any desperate adventure of his
old warrior days. He knew how deadly was the
danger awaiting him, and he deliberately went into
it unarmed, that he might follow his Master, who
came to save men's lives, and not to kill. With two
of his brothers and four other men, he landed at
night, and made his way through the bush up to
Lavoni. At first, his errand promised to succeed.
But a chief, who thought he had a personal grudge
against him, came on the scene, and the whole party
were shot or clubbed. The murderers took the slain
men to Levuka, and were well paid by the white
men for their work. As soon as the news of the
crime reached Mbau, Mr. Waterhouse hastened to
Ovalau, and courageously demanded the bodies.
They were given up to him, and were buried with
In the year following matters grew worse and worse
with Thakombau. The white settlers at Ovalau, who
had used all means to hinder his becoming Christian,
lest he should put a stop to some of their evil practices,
were now more busy than ever in stirring up war
against him, and he was in great danger. In addi-
tion to this, he fell ill, and his strength was much
reduced. He now yielded to the request of Mr.
Calvert, and gave up a house in Mbau as a residence
for a missionary. It was occupied, forthwith, by the
Eev. Joseph "Waterhouse. The death of his old
friend, Verani, had greatly moved the king ; and
now news came that his late visitor, Tui Tuikilakila,
the King of Somosomo, had been murdered. This
also greatly disturbed him. Just at this time he
received two letters; one extracted from a Sydney
paper, in which the American consul in Fiji brought
the heaviest charges against him, and strongly ad-
vised that he and his city of Mbau should be swept
away by force. This greatly exasperated the king,
but, at the same time, added to his uneasiness, and
made him the more ready to listen to the pleadings
of the other letter, which was sent to him by King
George of Tonga, earnestly beseeching him at once
to lotu. For a time he hesitated, and then told
Mr. Waterhouse that he would lotu on the following
148 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Sunday. Mr. Calvert thus describes in his journal
what took place :
"Sunday, April 30&, 1854. Mr. Waterhouse
having desired us to go over, wishing me to take the
morning service, we crossed over to Mbau early.
At eight o'clock the chief sent ordering the drum to
be beaten. The large drum called rogorogo ai valu,
reporter of war, usually beaten when the Mbauans
have killed and dragged any of their enemies, was
now used to announce the coming of the Saviour's
reign in this dreadful city. We entered before
many had arrived. I expected there would be only
a few from each division of Mbau as a pledge of
the whole ; and, indeed, so it was. The chiefs wives
and children, he and his people, and some from
other families assembled, the men being preceded by
an old grey-headed priest. It was affecting and
pleasing to see them attired in large dresses of
Tongan cloth, and serious beyond what I expected.
There were upwards of three hundred. I felt much
moved, and was afraid that I could not proceed with
the service. However, I got through. I was asto-
nished at the very orderly appearance of the
congregation. All knelt ; and I doubt not that
there was a goodly number of sincere worshippers,
while all were brought under the same word of life.
That which has hindered is taken out of the way.
Besides, the chief is evidently very desirous that
others should join him. He has already sent to
several towns, desiring them to lotu. He went off
with us to the mission-house, and appeared as if he
were relieved in body and mind of a great burden.
"After they had eaten, many children came to
the mission-house for alphabets, and began to read in
the verandah. There were many groups, forming
a Sunday School, several getting hold of the mission
servants and a few Viwa Christians to teach them.
All rejoiced. Early the next morning I called to bid
good-bye to the chief. He and his principal wife
desired me to conduct family prayer. I was begin-
ning, when they asked me to wait till all came.
Carpenters, visitors, servants, were to dress and come
in. A great number were present. What a change !
How many evils, to which they, even when enlight-
ened heathens, cling tenaciously, are done away at a
stroke ! What a basis for good deep, extensive,
everlasting good to body and soul ! Glory be to God !
We bless the God of heaven ! Blessed be the name
of God for ever and ever ! for wisdom and might are
His ; and He changeth the times and the seasons ! "
It was truly a great event great for Fiji, and
very great in the personal history of Calvert the
missionary. For years the conversion of Thakombau
had been asked for in his daily prayers ; and he had
150 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
lost no opportunity of reproving and instructing
him. He set before himself continually the planting
of Christianity in Mbau as an object to be worked
for with all earnestness. But the king's persistence
in evil, and the enormous wickedness of his city, had
almost led the other missionaries to give up hope,
and to fall in with the counsel that it would be
better to leave Mbau and its king alone in their
incorrigible evil. Even when Mr. Waterhouse went
to live at Mbau, he went with the gloomiest
prospects, as to a forlorn hope. Thus, for some time
past, Calvert's faith had been sorely tried with every
possible discouragement ; but he kept on, praying,
trusting, and working; and now the long thick
darkness began to be broken. It was not yet day,
but there were signs of dawn ; and no wonder that
the good man's heart overran with joyful thankful-
ness. The Vunivalu was far, very far, from being a
converted Christian; but he had now absolutely
severed himself from the old heathenism and all its
evil observances, and he had openly put himself and
his people under the teaching of the missionaries.
" He caused the Sabbath to be strictly observed ;
and procured a large bell, by which to summon his
numerous household to family prayer. His own
attendance at the preaching and prayer-meetings
was regular, and his deportment serious. His little
boy, of about seven years of age, had already been
permitted to bear the name of Christian, and had
learned to read. The little fellow now became the
teacher of his parents, who were both so eager to
acquire knowledge that sometimes their young
instructor would fall asleep with fatigue in the midst
of the lesson, to resume it after a refreshing nap."
(Fiji and the Fijians.)
In his journal Mr. Calvert writes a week after-
"This has been such a week as I have not
previously had in Fiji. It is like a dream when one
awaketh ; yet it is a blessed reality ; for it is rest
after labour, ease after painful anxiety, joyful
exultation after being cast down. The language of
all our visitors is changed. They say, 'Our chief
has lotued ; it is now near us ; we shall all soon lotu.'
Formerly all were waiting for him.
" To-day I have had a conversation with a teacher,
who has been at Mbau to help Mr. Waterhouse, and
has to-day fetched his wife, that he may go and live
with the chief. He says that the chief speaks and
acts like a man who has been walking in Grod's way,
and understands the Scriptures. ' The fact is,' he said,
' lie has been thoroughly instructed, and is able now to
put in practice, and to tell others, what he knows.'
152 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
" Yesterday, when his food was ready, he sent for
the head priest, and asked him to drink soup, and
eat with him. This he is not allowed to do as a
priest, but has separate provision made for him.
The old priest refused, pretending that he was tipsy.
The chief said, ' Well, don't mistake ; you must plant
your own food, and eat and drink like other people
for the future. There will be no chief now to supply
you, and no island whence any will be allowed to
bring you food as a priest. You have long and
greatly deceived me. I have decided, and we shall
all become Christians, and follow it to our lives' end.'"
The war troubles which pressed so heavily upon
Thakombau, at the time of his becoming lotu, went
on from worse to worse, and he was in grave peril.
The whites, on the one hand, and his old enemies at
Rewa, on the other, threatened his destruction.
The chief of Rewa sent to warn Mr. Waterhouse
to remove speedily, as he was about to demolish
Mbau and its king. Thakombau was much touched
by the missionary's determination to remain with
him. He at last yielded to milder counsels, and
sought to make peace with his enemies ; but they
rejected his advances. Mr. Calvert's position was
one of great difficulty, and of not a little danger.
He was well known as the firm friend of the
Vunivalu, while he also passed freely to and fro
VI W A. 153
among his foes. Two months after Thakombau's
turning, Calvert had a very narrow escape. Journey-
ing from one place to another in the interests of
peace, he determined to call, on his way home, at
the island of Moturiki, to warn the people there that
the Ovalau chief was about to attack them. He
himself thus describes his peril and escape :
" We found that the tide did not serve well for
landing ; we therefore steered towards the entrance
[in the reef] leading to Viwa. One of my boat's
crew observed a man on the Moturiki beach
beckoning to us, and told me. I desired one of
my Rotumans to go on shore, as it was a long dis-
tance for me to wade, and we would put in at ,
another point for him, where I would see the people.
He got in the water, and was proceeding towards
the shore, when he observed several persons come
out from among the cocoa-nut trees. He was afraid,
and said, ' They are from Lovoni [a mountain district
in Ovalau], and will kill me.' I requested him to
come into the boat. The man continued to call.
He was dressed, which led me to think he was a
man from Mbau who had lotued. I did not like to
let the opportunity pass, and immediately got on my
old water shoes. I did not believe them to be
Lovonians ; but said to the boat's crew that, should
I be killed, they were to return to Levuka, so that
154 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Tui Levuka might get my body. Kaitu, a Rotuman,
wished to go with me. I forbade him, and ordered
them to take the boat round by the deep water near
the reef, and put in for me at the other side. The
beach was a considerable distance from me, and the
water was in some places over knee-deep. As I
proceeded towards the shore, many more persons
made their appearance, some running fast towards
me from two directions. As they neared me they
looked very fierce, and made gestures indicative
of evil intentions towards me. I could not get to
the boat, and therefore went on towards the shore.
One was swifter than the rest, and came near, with
his gun uplifted, to strike me. I expostulated with
him. Quickly several were up with me, some of
whom had clubs uplifted to club me; some with
hatchets, some with spears laid on in a position to
throw. One came very near with a musket pointed
at me, with desperate looks. I trembled ; but
protested loudly and firmly that they ought not to
kill me ; that in me there was no cause of death
from them ; that their killing me would be greatly
to their disgrace. I was surrounded by upwards of
a hundred. The features of one I recognised, and
hoped he was friendly. (This man had thought
that it was my boat, and, knowing the exasperated
state of the people against the whites for meddling
in the present wars, fearing that I should be in
danger, had run towards me ; but was|late in reaching
me, from having run a sharp shell into his foot.) He
took hold of me, recognising me as the husband of
the lady of the wooden house at Viwa, who had
frequently purchased food of them, and treated them
kindly ; and he said I should live. I clung to him,
and disputed for my life with those who clamoured
for my death. Another man's face, through a thick
covering of soot, exhibited features familiar to me ;
but a fearful-looking battle-axe he held in his hand
attracted my eye. However, I laid hold of him,
and advised and urged him not to kill me. Thus I
was between two who might be friendly. I told my
name, my work, my labours in various ways, again
and again, on their behalf ; my having offered Tui
Levuka a very large looking-glass if he would let
them alone ; my having entreated Mara and the
mountaineers not to attack them, and my preventing
an intended attack. I told them that I had inter-
ceded with the Mbau chief to send them the help
by which they were now strengthened ; and that my
full knowledge of being one and friendly with them
led me to come on shore ; that no white man who
had been active in the war against them would
have dared to come on shore there. Matters were
in a hopeful state, when a very ugly man drew near
with great vehemence. Many had avowed them-
s^lves in my favour. He appeared resolutely de-
158 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
termined, in spite of opposition, to take away my
life. He was extremely ferocious, but his arms
were seized and held by several. He struggled hard
for a length of time to get his musket to bear on
me, which, indeed, he once or twice managed ; but
it was warded off before he could fire. At length his
rage subsided. All then consented to my living.
But their thirst for killing had got up ; and, as they
could not kill me, they wished me to return towards
the boat, intending to accompany me, hoping to get
one or more of my natives in my stead. I refused to
go, and persisted in approaching the shore, led by
two. One untied my neck-cloth, and took it. They
pulled my coat, and felt me, and I fully expected to
be stripped. My trousers were wet and heavy. I
was weak with talking and disputing with them,
indeed, quite hoarse. As we still went on in the sea,
they commenced their death-song, always sung as
they drag along the bodies of enemies slain. I
feared that might increase their rage, and desired to
stop it. It was most grating to my feelings, and I
stood still, and entreated them to desist. After a
short time they did so, and we proceeded to the
beach. Those who had run to destroy me departed
towards their own town.
" I found Ratu Vuki, a chief of Mbau, had just
arrived. He was vexed with those who had treated
me so, and would have punished them. I begged
he would not. I desired him to send me to Viwa in
a canoe, as I was sure Mrs. Calvert would be anxious.
My boys had seen the danger to which I was exposed.
They also were pursued by the natives, and hastened
to Viwa, where they arrived about seven o'clock.
Mrs. Calvert felt much at the alarming intelligence,
but feared to send the boat to inquire, lest my death
might be followed by the killing of those she might
send. She also hoped that I was alive, thinking
that the Moturiki people would not kill me. At
midnight I reached Viwa in the canoe, and found
that my wife had borne up well, but had just given
her consent to the going to look after me.
" During the whole of the attack upon me the Lord
blessed me with great presence of mind and consider-
able firmness, to stand up, proceed, dispute with
them, and protest against their taking away my life.
My trust was in the Lord. He was my Help and
Deliverer. It appeared to me very probable that my
course and my ministry were about being ended ;
yet I was comforted in the assurance
' They cannot, Lord, my life devour,
Safe in the hollow of Thine hand.'
While looking at the instruments of death which
were held over, and levelled at me, I felt that my
life was still in His hands, and could only be taken
by His permission. My prayer was to the God of
my life. I was persuaded that, if He permitted my
158 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
death, I should glorify Him in some ways that I
could not have done by my life. I thought that
the natives might be thereby led to deep considera-
tion of the folly and evil of war, and be led to terms
of peace. I gave myself afresh to the Lord, feeling
willing and desirous to glorify Him, whether by life
or death. I thought of my family, and committed
my children, in England, New Zealand, and Fiji, and
my much-beloved and faithful wife, to the Lord, in
whom she trusted. I thought of the mangled body
of the murdered Williams, and thought my own
likely to be mangled and abused to the same extent ;
but I knew that I should not be eaten, even in
cannibal Fiji, which was some relief to my mind.
And thus I felt very thankful to Him, who had pre-
served me to labour more than fifteen years, in which
I had been employed in rough and dangerous work.
It seemed to me an appropriate end of my labours
in Fiji. But how gracious, how wise, how powerful,
my Deliverer ! Again I am rescued, and privileged
with restoration to my family and labours."
In June, Mr. Calvert again visited Lakemba, that
he might take part in the ordination of native
ministers. He was very nearly wrecked in trying to
pass the entrance through the reef at Lakemba.
For more than an hour they were in great peril,
and struck the reef twice. At last they succeeded in
turning round, and effected a landing at another
part of the coast.
Three candidates were examined for ordination,
and two others for admission to a four years' proba-
tion. These men had been under the instruction of
Mr. Lyth, whose services in this most important
branch of the mission were of the utmost possible
value. The great importance of his medical work
has been already noticed. In all respects the mission
owed to his personal influence and labours more than
can ever be told. His extreme modesty made his
career far less conspicuous than that of other men ;
but all who had an opportunity of watching his course
and its results agree in giving him a chief place
among those who were instrumental in bringing about
the reformation of Fiji.
Mr. Calvert says : " The training of those persons
for the work of the Lord in which they are to be
employed must have cost Mr. Lyth immense labour,
and reflects great credit on both teacher and taught."
At one place which he visited he was delighted to
find a large chapel filled with devout worshippers, a
scene which he thankfully contrasts with the time
when he tried in vain to introduce Christianity
there, and then, afterwards, " went there in the
night, when a few bowed the knee."
On his return voyage he had another very narrow
escape, being nearly swept overboard by the boom
160 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
in jibing. He clung to the boom, and just saved
himself. They put in at Levuka, where he heard
very alarming news of the spread of the revolt
against Mbau, and that the day was fixed for the
destruction of the Vunivalu. After preaching three
times on the Sunday at Levuka, as it grew late
men gathered, angry and threatening, in front of
the house. They had said that his presence close
to Mbau was the only thing that hindered the
murder of the king. The night, therefore, was
spent in sleepless watching. No attack, however,
was made; and the next day he reached home at
Viwa in safety.
To any one studying the history of Fiji, the position
and doings of Calvert at this crisis are extremely
interesting. He had acquired a very remarkable
influence with the foremost men on both sides of the
spreading quarrel. He knew them and their policy
thoroughly, and had become an expert in the
mysteries of Fijian diplomacy. It is no contradic-
tion to say that, while he was well hated by some of
the enemies of Thakombau for thwarting their plans,
they, at the same time, respected and feared him.*
* The real respect in which he was held by the white men
is illustrated by the case of a Jew merchant, who made him
his executor, and thus laid upon him, amongst other charges,
the gruesome task of having the testator's body put into a
cask of rum and forwarded to his widow in Sydney.
Some among them, though not the most violent, he
knew very well to be the real strength of the revolt,
and he used the power he had over them without
sparing his strength or his property. His journal is
almost wholly taken up, at this date, with details
of incessant journeys, and the account of his pleadings
with different chiefs, pleadings sometimes backed by
judicious and costly presents. He fully believed
in the sincerity of the Vunivalu's lotu. The event
justified his confidence ; but, at the time, probably no
one but the Christians shared it. The king's enemies
derided it ; though one of them said, " If he is truly
lotu we shall not get him ; if a hypocrite, his lotu will
be only fuel to fire." In the engagements in which
the Mbau forces took part for their own protection,
the old cannibal practices entirely ceased. On the
occasion of the body of a slain enemy being brought
to Mbau, Calvert writes : " How changed is Mbau !
Two years ago the women were strangled on the
death of the chief. A year ago, any bodies that were
brought to Mbau were cut up, and cooked, and
eaten ; and cooked pieces were hung on the mission
fence. Now, things are altogether changed. The
chief gave a mat, in which the body was wrapped up,
and sent to his own relatives to be buried by them."
The following year saw the end of the great
rebellion. Peace was made with Eewa without
further fighting ; but the rest of the revolting tribes
162 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
gathered their forces, largely helped by the whites,
at one place, which they strongly fortified. In
March, George Tubou, the Christian king of Tonga,
visited Mbau with a large fleet, to receive a great
canoe probably the largest in the world which the
Fijian king had built for him. The rebels fired
upon the Tongan canoes, which led George to unite
his forces with those of Thakombau ; and in one
short, sharp engagement the stronghold of the
enemy was stormed and destroyed, and the long war
was practically at an end. Two hundred prisoners
were brought to Mbau, where Mr. Calvert found
them unbound, and with a temporary shelter erected
over them. He found that the king had ordered
drink to be given them, and was much touched to
see the king's little son going about amongst them
to serve them. None of them were put to death, not
even Koroi Eavulo, a Mbau chief, who had been one
of the most implacable and most treacherous of the
Before King George returned, he accompanied
Thakombau on his first visit to Rewa since the
eleven years' war ended. The fleet of more than
forty canoes made a gallant show ; and Mr. Calvert
sailed with the Tongan king on his new canoe,
which had one hundred and forty persons on board.
From his extremely interesting account of this trip,
some few extracts may be given :
" In going towards the canoe, I found that the
tide, for which they were waiting, was making.
Baskets, chests, mats, yams, etc., were being taken
on board. While I was yet on shore, I observed the
king at one end of the house [on deck] attending,
apparently, to the reception and stowing of the
goods, which I thought rather an unkingly employ-
ment, but supposed it was necessary that some one
having authority should have that position. ... I
went to see how the king had managed the stowing
of the cargo, and was disappointed, as baskets, and
mats of various sizes and shapes, guns, boxes, etc.,
seemed as if they had been put in accidentally.
But when I came to the other end of the house, I
found that the marked and assiduous attention he
had paid was to prevent encroachment upon a con-
siderable and very convenient portion of the house,
which he had appropriated to two young men of his
crew who had been slightly wounded.
" All being ready, the anchors were taken up. The
king gave orders, and took a large pole at the stern
of the canoe, so as to occupy the principal place for
steering. They at once began one of their lively
and inspiriting nautical songs, in which the Tongans
are pre-eminent. Seven suas, long paddles like oars,
are worked at the forepart of the vessel, the men
standing at their work, and twenty paddles astern,
which is peculiar to Tongan canoes. Twenty long
164 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
poles were used at the sides and at the stern in
shoal water. All frequently change for relief. After
the king and others had poled for some time they
were relieved by others. Presently he went astern,
and called to others to join him in relieving the
paddlers. What was difficult in the management of
the canoe he was ready to lay hold of. He kept a
watchful eye on everything ; was grave, yet cheerful.
All reverenced him, and felt at home with him.
When we came to a shallow part, and several had to
get overboard, he was quickly in the water. Once
I saw him up to his neck.
" The stern end of the platform was occupied by a
large square wooden case, the sides of which leaned
outwards. This was soon needed. There were
persons appointed for cooking, who had made prepa-
ration beforehand. The case was covered with green
leaves, on which were three or four inches of earth.
Upon the earth was placed one tier of hard stones,
closely packed. On these stones a fire was made.
The same could be seen in the bay smoking from all
the Tongan canoes. On the burning wood many
more stones are laid, and become hot. These are
then removed, and yams, or taro, or bread-fruit, are
cut and laid on the lower tier of stones. Bananas
and native bread are wrapped up in leaves. As all
are piled up, the other hot stones are mixed with
them. The whole is then carefully covered over
with several thicknesses of bread-fruit leaves stitched
together. A wet rope is then closely and neatly
coiled over the whole, which effectually prevents the
steam from escaping. A coarse cocoa-nut leaf mat
is laid over this to keep the sun and wind from
drying the rope. . . .
" After calling at one place and ratifying the
peace, they brought up for the night opposite
"As soon as we were anchored, I observed the
king covering with cocoa-nut leaves, to protect from
dew and rain, a part of the deck in front of the
canoe house, and he and another put up an end of
the sail around it. A mat was laid on the floor, and
I was told it was for my accommodation during the
night. I begged the king to share it with me, but
he said he should manage very well. I asked him to
conduct worship, which he did with admirable spirit,
propriety, and earnestness. Singing and prayer
ascended from every canoe. After a short nap, I
turned out and surveyed the deck-ends of the canoe,
which were covered with people, who seemed com-
fortably asleep. The king, I afterwards found, slept
on deck, with a covering of Tonga cloth. . . .
" At break of day hymns and prayers resounded
from the Tonga canoes. After our morning prayer
[on Thakombau's canoe, to which Calvert had gone
before daylight] the Vunivalu and I partook of yam
166 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
and coffee, and I started for Makelo, which I found
to be a large straggling town, with several moats
round it. ... I went to the old queen, who had
lotued with the king, and saw a few who had bowed
themselves before the Lord since the end of the war.
They listened to me with marked attention, and
wish for teachers, whom I hope we shall be able to
get for them. ... I noticed a small grove of
bamboos, which, I was told, was planted to provide
instruments for cutting up dead bodies. These
bamboos, I was assured, were cut down and uned only
for that purpose. Bamboo knives are very sharp.
The natives are as scrupulous about what is used in
connection with human flesh as Herod was about
his oath, when he sacrificed the life of John the
Baptist. I suppose they would not allow a knife
used for food to be employed in cutting up a human
body. The oven in which it is cooked they are
careful not to use even for the vegetables eaten with
it. The pot in which it is re-cooked is never used
for any other purpose, but has a place set apart for
it, where it, and it alone, is kept, so that there can be
no mistake. On my first arrival in Fiji, I shared
the common prejudice against food provided at
places where human flesh is eaten ; but since I have
been so fully persuaded that the persons, implements,
and utensils employed in its preparation are scrupu-
lously avoided in preparing other food, I have no fear
on that point, even should human flesh be cooking
in the town at the time.
" [Sunday was spent in Rewa.] At the usual time
the drums were beaten. Those from Tongatabu
assembled in the house occupied by King George,
those of Vavau and Haapai [the great islands in the
Friendly group] in the large house, where the Fijian
service has usually been held. We repaired to Bure
ko Rewa a sacred place, where dead bodies were
presented to the gods, and where they are cut up
and cooked, and where the Vunivalu or any of the
Mbauans would have been dragged, had they been
got hold of a few weeks ago. Now all assembled
together therein to worship the one living and true
(rod. ... At the service sat an old man from Kan-
davu, who has treated the Mbau chief ill in the late
war, and whose canoe was to have been taken from
him. He was seated second from the Vunivalu, who,
when he noticed him, gave him a tap on the head
with his fingers, which showed that all was right, and
relieved the old man from his fears. We assembled
in the same place in the afternoon. Mrs. Moore
[the wife of the missionary stationed at Rewa] and
I, in returning, went to the king's house to see the
queen (a Christian). But she was in her private
apartment a part screened off by Tonga cloth.
There, I judge, she was holding her class-meeting.
Another class-meeting of about twenty was being
168 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
held at the other end of the house. A small number
were assembled outside on a hill, for the same
purpose. Private means of grace are liable to be
neglected in voyaging, but where there's a will
there's a way. In small houses, on a canoe, under a
canoe, in the bush, here on a hill in the middle of
the town, those among them who really fear the
Lord speak one to another, and stir up each other's
minds. At Mbau a class-leader came to me to know
whether he might meet his class in a heathen temple.
I encouraged him by all means to do so. All the
principal men at Kewa have lotued, and I doubt not
that the work will spread much. The change here
The establishment of peace was immediately
followed by a wide spread of the lotu ; and Mr.
Calvert found that, whereas formerly they had begged
chiefs to receive a teacher, and very often in vain,
now they were besieged on all hands by earnest
requests that teachers might be sent. They were at
their wits' end to meet the demand, as also to furnish
necessary supplies of books. " We are perplexed," he
writes, " for want of men. The change is so sudden
and extensive that we are not at all able to get men
for each town who can read, and pray, and teach read-
ing. It is with difficulty that we get books printed
to meet the demand. This year we have printed
upwards of twenty thousand each of the first and
second reading books; but that will not meet the case."
Mr. Calvert had now been seventeen years in Fiji.
Of those who were on the ground when he arrived, or
came with him, not one was left. Several times
during the last year or two, the question of his
return home had been raised ; but the General
Superintendent of the Polynesian missions, the Rev.
W. B. Boyce, wrote imploring him to stay until the
issue of the war was decided. He said, " You have
an influence which no one else can have. If you
remain, we have no fears ; but if you leave, I have
little hope of war being prevented, as you are the
master mind of the King of Mbau. In supporting
his authority you have done well, and are Scripturally
justified ; and you have consulted the good of all
parties in Fiji, as it was the only plan by which
anarchy could have been prevented." The danger
was now at an end, and peace restored ; and all
who knew the course of affairs acknowledged that
this result was mainly owing to Calvert's incessant
exertions. He had gained great influence with
Thakombau ; and that which had been for years a
chief aim of his life was well nigh reached when the
king lotued. He still prayed on, and worked for
his actual conversion ; but it was not till after he
had left that he was gladdened by the welcome news
that the Vunivalu had been baptised.
170 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
He then dismissed his many wives, every one of
whom represented an alliance which brought him
power and wealth. All this was now renounced for
righteousness' sake, and he was solemnly married to
his chief queen, who had become a genuine and de-
voted Christian. The others speedily found husbands
and homes. Mr. Waterhouse thus describes the
"In the afternoon [January llth, 1857] the king
was publicly baptised. In the presence of God, he
promised to ' renounce the devil and all his works,
the pomps and vanities of this wicked world, and all
the sinful lusts of the flesh.' He engaged to believe
all the articles of the Christian faith ; and solemnly
vowed, in the name of the Holy Trinity, ' to keep
God's holy will and commandments, and to walk in
the same all the days of his life.' In accordance
with my request, previously conveyed, the king
then addressed the assembly. It must have cost
him many a struggle to stand up before his court,
his ambassadors, and the flower of his people, to
confess his former sins. In time past he had con-
sidered himself a god, and had received honours
almost divine from his people. Now he humbles
himself, and adores his great Creator and merciful
Preserver. And what a congregation he had !
Husbands, whose wives he had dishonoured ! widows,
whose husbands he had slain ! sisters, whose relatives
had been strangled by his orders ! relatives, whose
friends he had eaten ! and children, the descendants
of those he had murdered, and who had vowed to
avenge the wrongs inflicted on their fathers ! A
thousand stony hearts heaved with fear and astonish-
ment as Thakombau said, ' I have been a bad man.
I disturbed the country. The missionaries came,
and invited me to embrace Christianity ; but I said
to them, " I will continue to fight." God has sin-
gularly preserved my life. At one time I thought
that I had myself been the instrument of my own
preservation ; but now I know that it was the Lord's
doing. I desire to acknowledge Him as the only
and the true God. I have scourged the world.'
He was deeply affected, and spoke with great
From that day forward till his death nearly
twenty-six years he proved the truth of his conver-
sion by a consistent and faithful Christian life.
The old king, after the cession of his dominions to
Great Britain, was thoroughly faithful to the compact,
and uniformly used his influence to facilitate the
new order of government. He died in 1881. In
the night before he passed away, he said, <; We
have not had prayers yet, have we ? Well, we will
have them now, and I will conduct them." So he
172 JAMES CALVE RT OF FIJI.
prayed with his wonted simplicity and fervour.
Afterwards he said : " Lord, be gracious unto me.
Here I lie in obedience to Thy will. Life and death
are in Thy hands. Thou alone rulest." The last
petition that those about him could hear was,
" Hold me, Jesus ! Hold me, Jesus ! My faith in
Thee is firm."
The Eev. F. Langham, who was present, wrote to
Mr. Calvert :
" He died well. It would have rejoiced your heart
to see the grand old warrior for grand he certainly
did look as he lay on his mat saying he trusted
in Jesus, his loving Saviour. His son, Timothy,
and his daughters knelt with me while I prayed
to the waiting Saviour to receive the departing
spirit. I could hardly get words out, for we were
all weeping. We were thankful that he had ended
his stormy life so peacefully. . . . You may imagine
I miss the old man. He was always so regular
in church, and one of the best hearers I ever knew.
And how appropriately he used to pray! With
what sweet simplicity ! You remember what choice
language he used. He had a fine command of
Fijian words. It was always a treat to listen to him
whether in the prayer-meeting, or class-meeting, or
lovefeast. It was something worth doing to win
him for Christ. Thank God for such a glorious
trophy of redeeming mercy ! And what a multitude
have been won to a profession of religion, and
brought to know the Saviour, through a knowledge
of his conversion, and by his influence and example! "
To return. A great work called for Calvert's
presence in England. The mission press had done
wonders ; but it was no longer equal to the demands
upon it. There had been published at Viwa, as already
stated, besides large numbers of separate Scripture
books and other works, an edition of one thousand of
the entire New Testament in Fijian ; and, two years
later, a revised edition of three thousand. The
British and Foreign Bible Society had given most
liberal aid, by grants of money and paper, to this
work, and then by sending out an edition of five
thousand published in England, where Mrs. Hunt did
valuable service in correcting the press. These
Testaments were thankfully purchased by the Fijian
Christians. The translation of the whole Bible was
at last complete, and the Bible Society undertook to
print it as soon as an expert in the language should
reach England. For this service Mr. Calvert was
chosen by common consent ; and thus his first long
term of work in Fiji came to an end.
On his last Sunday he preached at Mbau to a
thousand people assembled in the large public Guest
House; and both preacher and people were much
174 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
moved. The long years of toil, and suffering, and
danger were forgotten that day in joyful thankfulness
for the wonderful changes that had come about. Two
days after, on November 13th, 1855, with Mrs. Calvert
and three of their children, he left Fiji in the Wesley.
The Rev. Thomas West and his family, from
Tonga, sailed with them. When five days out they
reached the solitary island of Rotumah, three
hundred miles to the north of Fiji. The mission
here had been entirely carried on by native Fijian
and Tongan teachers, who had learned the language
of the people. A missionary paid a visit to the
island about once a year. It being Sunday, Mr.
Calvert preached to "a large and very attentive
congregation " at Oinatha, the principal town,
Eliezer, a teacher, acting as interpreter. He says :
"I was perfectly surprised to see the amazing
difference observable in the people since the time of
my former visit. They were like another people.
Upwards of one hundred were prepared for baptism,
and their names written on a paper handed to me by
Eliezer, who is stationed here with Jotame. He has
gained an excellent knowledge of the language
during the year, and was very ready in interpreting.
He has evidently been very diligent, and success has
attended his efforts. He has carefully attended to
the classes, and to children, and the adult schools.
I baptised the chief, Josiah Tokainina, who is very
anxious for an English missionary."
Three days were spent on Eotumah, and several
places visited. One hundred and eighty-three
persons were baptised. The Wesley had been un-
able to anchor, and, in very bad weather, had stood
off and on all the time. They had to sail above ten
miles out to reach her.
" Thus end my labours for the present in these
seas. May the Lord henceforth guide me by His
counsel, employ me in His service, keep me from
every evil, strengthen me in every duty, and
succeed with His blessing my future work, and
afterwards receive me to glory. Amen."
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI.
Arrival in England. Woodbridge and Bible Work. Catholicity.
Mission Advocacy. The Call to return to Fiji Voyage
Out. Arrival at Lakemba. First Missionary Meetings at
Mbau and Viwa. Settled at Ovalau. Moturiki revisited.
Diplomatic Work. Kevision and Blind Shem. Visit to
Lakemba. Beginning of the Jubilee Chapel. Presentation
of Address. Eejoicing on account of Great Success. School
Feast at Mbau. Training Institution on Kandavu. Another
Visit to Rotumah. Ordination of Native Ministers. Farewell
Services. Left Fiji.
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI.
ON his way home, at the close of 1855, Mr.
Calvert spent some little time in Sydney, and
also attended the Conference in Melbourne. His
evidence concerning the work accomplished in Fiji
made a deep impression in the colonies to the great
benefit of the mission funds. Two Christian natives,
who had come up with him in the Wesley, accom-
panied him to several of the meetings which were
held in New South Wales, and excited much in-
terest by their statements.
England was reached in the spring of 1856 ; and
Mr. Calvert forthwith set about the work for which
especially he had come. The translation of the Old
Testament had to be prepared for the press, and the
New Testament translation to be further revised,
both under the direction of the Editorial Sup^rin-
tendent of Translations of the Bible Society, t&e
late Rev. T. W. Meller, rector of Woodbridge,
Suffolk ; and in his parish the Cal verts settled down,
and, for the first time, gathered all their children
180 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
together about them. Their eldest had been with
relatives in England several years, and the two next
were sent to school in New Zealand. Four years
were spent in diligent application to the work of
producing the first complete edition of the Fijian
Bible, a work demanding patient labour, and anxious
attention and pains, of which those who see only
the completed result have but little notion.
While this responsible task had the first claim on
his time and energy, Mr. Calvert found opportunity
for much valuable service in other ways. His
personal character and influence were continually
felt for good in Woodbridge, and his genial warmth
and cheery brightness brought help to many. He
is still remembered there for the large, free catho-
licity with which he held himself ready to help in
the service of any Christian Church, and to hold
the most affectionate fellowship with its members.
His soul had grown up outside of the cramping re-
straints of small ecclesiastical and sectarian jealousies
and bigotries, and altogether refused to be held by
them from giving full play to the instincts of Chris-
tian brotherhood. This was not because he had no
definition on the Church side of his religion, nor
because he reckoned Church principles to be of
little importance. He stood always loyally and
lovingly by the Church to which he belonged.
Observation, indeed, seems to compel the conclusion,
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 181
that a catholicity which affects to have no such
standing, has seldom, if ever, strength to make itself
His advocacy of the great missionary cause was of
the highest possible service. Without the slightest
pretence to rhetorical art, he told with manly sim-
plicity the story of what he himself had seen. And
with the simplicity was a quick warmth, which
reproduced all the feelings that had moved him in
witnessing, and taking part in, the scenes which he
described. While listening to him, it was impos-
sible to doubt his truth and sincerity, which gave
a wonderful force to his speaking, such as no artistic
oratory could have produced ; and occasional gleams
of genuine but well-controlled humour made him at
times irresistible. And, in his pleading, what a case
he had !
Very quickly, and crowded with busy service,
those years at home passed away. Then news came
from Fiji that the mission staff, overtaxed by the
rapidly growing claims of the work, was seriously
crippled by the death of one of its strongest men,
the Rev. John Polglase. Already it had been
determined to send out a considerable reinforce-
ment, and six young missionaries were designated
for the service. The need was great, and no one
knew its urgency so well as Mr. Calvert and his
noble wife. The call came; and between the hearing
182 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
and the obeying there was no pause of hesitation
or debate. The cost was great ; and it was reckoned
and faced. The happy English home, with the
children all about them, must be given up. They,
being as fully one in sacred devotion as in wedded
love, brought the sacrifice, and offered themselves to
return alone to Fiji. All the children were well
provided for by the aid of willing friends, who
reckoned it a great privilege to be suffered to
lighten the burden of these faithful ones.
On December 12th, 1860, the mission party, ac-
companied by many loving friends, went down the
Thames to Gravesend, where they embarked for
Australia. They had, on the whole, a good voyage.
The young missionaries and their wives met regularly
to study the Fijian language, and by the time they
reached Sydney could read and translate with fair
success. In a letter written on board, Mr. Calvert
says, "Mrs. Calvert and I are more and more
persuaded that we are in our proper path. She
has suffered a good deal, but bears all in the best
way." In that short sentence, written hurriedly to
catch a ship spoken at sea, how much motherly
anguish is covered by the words " has suffered a
good deal ! " They anchored at Sydney in three
months and seven days after starting, and, having
spent about a month in the colony, set out again
on April 23rd. They called at the Friendly
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 183
Islands, and arrived in Fiji on the morning of
The John Wesley brought up off Lakemba, where
Mr. and Mrs. Calvert first landed twenty-three years
before. It is not easy to imagine all they felt as
they looked once more on that familiar coast, every
feature of which brought back the thought of some
incident of the eventful ten years spent there. What
changes had been brought about since then ! The
whole island was now at least nominally Christian.
The old king, Tui Nayau, still lived, and had long
since forsaken heathenism and all its evil ways. It
was a harvest-field now, and these faithful workers
looked back to the long, hard seed-time, and were
glad with an unutterable thanksgiving.
Some of the missionaries and the widow of Mr.
Polglase came off to the Wesley ; but only Mr. and
Mrs. Calvert could go ashore. " We went," he says,
" to see the old king ; and he and I kissed each
other. I prayed with him and his one wife, to whom
he had been married since I left. We also went to
see other friends." The Wesley reached Mbau a few
days afterwards, having called at several stations on
the way. The District Meeting was held forthwith.
" During the District Meeting," Mr. Calvert
writes, " the first Missionary Meeting was held at
Mbau. It was a grand sight. Thakombau, in full
184 JAMES CALVERT 0* FIJI.
dress, led the way into the large square when the
collection was brought. When near the spot where
the gifts were put, he laid hold of ten heads of
turtle-shell, weighing about twenty pounds, which
had been previously conveyed, and laid it at our
feet. Several five-gallon cans of cocoa-nut oil were
then brought as his subscription. Then the men of
Mbau, well dressed, one at a time, laid down their
presents of oil. Then came the ladies of Mbau in a
body, singing, as they came, appropriate pieces which
they had prepared, and portions of Scripture. The
queen gave, I think, three cans of oil, and others
brought quantities according to their ability and
disposition. Our coming to Fiji for the second time
to the work was celebrated in song. The fishermen
and women, the carpenters, and the youths of Mbau
came in bodies and presented their offerings. The
fifty cans prepared to receive the oil which were
expected to be more than sufficient were soon filled,
and many more had to be obtained. All was done
cheerfully and gracefully. The people were clean
and well dressed. After the collection was over, and
the oil secured, we adjourned to the chapel to sing,
give thanks, pray, and hear speeches. In Joeli
Bulu's speech he feelingly referred to our return,
and called upon all who, with himself, were heartily
thankful that we had come back again to lift up
their hands. The mass of hands held up was
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 185
gratifying.* Altogether it was a grand sight. The
change wrought is, marvellous.
" On the following day, the Viwa Missionary Meet>
ing was held, to which we were urgently invited.
Our District Meeting was drawing to a close, and we
were very busy ; but I got permission to attend, with
some of the brethren. The people are few, and the
work has not prospered at Viwa. We went in low
spirits, but I was very much cheered. The road to
the chapel was weeded, and the path renewed.
Forms were fixed in an open space, where we as-
sembled, and waited for the contributors, who shortly
made their appearance, well dressed, all alive, singing
as they came, bringing large yams, pigs, fowls, a
duck, and many mats and baskets which they had
made. I was surprised, encouraged, delighted. I
was the only speaker, and felt quite inspired. All
listened with very earnest attention."
It was decided that Mr. Calvert should take charge
of Ovalau, which, together with Viwa, was in the
Mbau Circuit. He would have greatly preferred to
be at Mbau ; but a younger missionary was there,
and he did not wish to unsettle him. He knew
* See Joel Bulu : the Autobiography of a Native Minister in
the South Seas. Translated by a Missionary. Wesleyan-
Methodist Book Room, London. One of the most perfectly
beautiful stories of the kind ever written.
186 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
Ovalau well, and its peculiar difficulties. All the
complications caused by the white residents and
they were very serious had their chief source on
this island, at Levuka, where most of the whites
lived. The British and American consuls were here.
Amongst the now growing number of foreigners
settled in Fiji, or staying there for a time, were
some men thoroughly without moral principle, whose
lives and influence worked disastrously among the
natives. A growing and murderous trade was esta-
blished in ardent spirits ; and the missionaries looked
on with dismay and grief as they saw cases of cheap
gin landed, bearing the names of merchants well
known in religion and philanthropy in Europe.
Here, then, Mr. Calvert came to dwell ; and it was
like him that he gave up the one little " study " in the
mission-house to the young missionary, his colleague,
who had just come out, and put up his own book-
shelves in his bedroom.
Very soon after his return he visited the island of
Maturiki, where his life was in such great peril
seven years before (p. 153). He opened two large
and well-built chapels, and was delighted to find
them filled with attentive congregations. As they
entered one of these, the people joined in a chant ;
and, in one who took the lead, dressed in a black
coat, the preacher recognised the man who had
violently insisted upon killing him.
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 187
" He was manifestly ashamed, and could not bear
to meet my eye. He had an uneasy appearance.
After the service I went and shook hands with him,
and said that, as we were both alive, we ought to
devote ourselves fully to the Lord. He could not
speak, but appeared deeply humbled. What a
marvellous change has been wrought in the views,
principles, and conduct of this people ! "
To narrate the particulars of Mr. Calvert's life at
Ovalau would be to give the history of a large part
of the Fiji mission, and the history of Fiji itself,
at that period. In every step and every detail of
the mission he took the most lively and practical
interest ; and his knowledge of the whole course of
events from the beginning often enabled him to give
most important help. In Fijian politics he was an
acknowledged expert. He had watched, from their
small beginnings, the growth and complication of
disputes, which had come to be problems full of
difficulty and danger; tribal quarrels, threatening
local wars ; conflicts between native interests and
the claims of foreign settlers, leading to the visit of
ships of war, and formal commissions of inquiry,
before which the missionary acted both as interpreter
and counsel; and then the harassing, find at one
time extremely perilous, relations with the Tongans
settled or roving in the group. Mr. Calvert, in
188 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
common with the other missionaries, could not be
what his duty required him to be to the people
without becoming personally engaged in the dis-
cussion of all these questions, often travelling far,
and enduring much in acting as a mediator, and
always striving to avert war, and bring about well-
settled peace. There is abundant material in his
correspondence at this time of great interest ; but it
would need so much historical statement, and so
many explanations to make it intelligible, that it
must be left where it is for the instruction of any
student who may wish to unravel the tangle of
Fijian affairs previous to the effectual cutting of all
knots by the cession of the group to Great Britain.
The offer of the sovereignty of Fiji had already
been made to Great Britain, but was, at first, declined.
After Mr. Calvert's death, Admiral Jenkins, referring
to this period, wrote :
"In July and August 1862 I was captain of
H.M.S. Miranda, taking the message of Sir John
Young, Governor of New South Wales, declining, on
the part of Her Majesty's ministers, the offer of the
sovereignty of the Fiji Islands ; and I well remember
the valuable assistance rendered to me by Mr. Calvert,
not only by interpreting and printing in Fijian that
message, but in settling matters between Europeans
and the natives. Thakombau, the chief I had to do
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 189
with, looked to him with respect, and as one they
could rely upon to give them good counsel and advice.
"I also well remember the native church at Ovalau,
built and filled by themselves. After leaving Ovalau,
I had on board the Miranda the chief of Sarua,
whose people a fortnight before were said to have
captured and eaten five men and forty women and
" The residence of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert at Ovalau,
and their influence on the native government, and
on the white residents, was indeed a great blessing."
But, exacting as all these matters were, they
always stood second to the claims of the missionary's
one great commission. At Levuka, the town where
he now lived, he found the chapel in a very bad
condition, and succeeded in building a new one,
which had the distinction of being the first in Fiji
having a boarded floor. He also built a church for
English services, and gathered a congregation of
fifty white people, while a school was provided for
their children. At last, also, an impression was
made upon the wild and turbulent tribe who in-
habited the mountains in the interior of the island,
amongst whom Verani was slain, and a number of
them were brought under Christian instruction.
As Mr. Calvert records his visits to different parts of
the group, the recurrence of such exclamations as,
190 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
"What a wonderful change!" "What hath God
wrought ! " becomes almost like a refrain of joyful
During this second term in the islands he was
very closely occupied in the further revision of the
Fijian version of the Scriptures. The experience
which he had gained in this work while in England
had frequently made him feel the need of having at
hand an intelligent native, to whom nice points of
construction and expression might be referred. So
thoroughly did he now take up this work that,
during the four years, he went carefully through the
whole of the New Testament eight times. In this
he found a very valuable helper in a blind man
named Semi, the Fijian form of Shem. When at
Viwa more than ten years before, while engaged
on the same task, he had asked Thakombau to
recommend to him some one who could help him.
The king suggested this blind youth, to the
missionary's no little disappointment. A very few
experiments, however, proved the wisdom of the
selection. Shem was found to have in a remarkable
degree the gifts necessary for the work. He was a
born poet, and exercised instinctively an exact dis-
crimination in the choice of terms, while his fine
musical ear made him detect at once any awkward
or dissonant construction, as well as any words used
colloquially with an alternative and sometimes very
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI 191
objectionable meaning. In those early days when
Semi was quite young, though he enjoyed the work,
he sometimes grew tired in it, so that Mr. Calvert,
reading on industriously, had to call out, " Wake
up, Semi ! " Now, with more mature powers, larger
knowledge, and greater zest, he gave most valuable
aid in the patient and careful revision of the
Scriptures, particularly of the New Testament.
Mr. Calvert greatly admired and loved his ready
In December 1863 he again revisited, as Chair-
man of the whole Fiji District, his old station at
" I preached in the morning, and was pleased to
see the husband and wife and children sit together
as families. This is a very great improvement upon
the old system, when the wife was looked down
upon, and partook of food if her husband left any.
In the evening I preached in English to a congre-
gation of eight persons. Here the missionaries have
a dozen young married men, who are likely to become
useful in our work, in a training school. To these
they pay special attention, in connection with ten
other local preachers. This is a most effectual way
of serving the cause of truth, producing great and
ever-accumulating good. The teachers and local
preachers from all the towns on the island come to
192 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
the missionaries on two days a week to receive
instruction in writing, arithmetic, and theology.
Having brought with me copies of a new book pre-
pared by Mr. Moore for our native agents, I met
the teachers, and earnestly directed their attention
to it. It consists of definitions of, and Scripture
passages on, the doctrines of the Bible, and will
prove very helpful and useful.
" On Sunday afternoon I heard Matthias Thakau
preach from Revelation i. 7. The discourse was
clear, and every part was well confirmed by ap-
propriate passages of Scripture. I well remember
him as an active lad, who accompanied and helped
me on my first visit to the islands of Vatoa and Ono
twenty-four years ago. He is now teacher in the
king's town, where he is doing a good work among
the people generally, and especially among the young
men. He is a spiritual, cheerful, and energetic
labourer in Christ's cause, and is useful wherever he
resides. Such men tell everywhere. He would have
been recommended as a native assistant missionary,
but for the misfortune of having a wife who is
not like-minded with himself. Anywhere a wife
materially hinders or wonderfully helps a man in
his efforts to do good. How a man is comforted and
strengthened when he has a wife who is a co-worker
together with him, and whose prayers to Almighty
God prevail on his behalf! However, though this
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 193
good man is hindered in his position, he aims to
make the best of it, and his labours are crowned
with success. And, perhaps, after all, as a catechist
or teacher in charge of a town or district, he may be
of more real service than he would be were he elated
by a higher name. The defective early training,
and small amount of knowledge and managing ability,
of these people, even the best of them, are a very
great drawback to their holding positions of trust
and responsibility ; and it is extremely difficult for
them to keep steady and humble when they become
somebody by being placed over others. As a teacher,
my friend Matthias recommends religion by his
countenance and conduct ; but I should like to have
found his house more orderly than it is.
" Our work among so many people, placed on
about eighty inhabited islands, scattered over several
degrees of latitude and longitude, must be dependent,
in a great measure, on converted men and women from
among themselves, who have to assume authority,
control others, and take a leading position. Our
District Training Institution will prove invaluable.
Full attention is paid to the men, and they gain a
good acquaintance with themselves, and are led to
act cautiously, respectfully, and judiciously.
" December 22nd, 1863. It is twenty-five years
to-day since I first landed in Lakemba. The
missionaries, king, and chiefs resolved to celebrate
194 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
our arrival a quarter of a century ago, by requesting
me to set the first post of their jubilee chapel * the
first wooden chapel in Fiji for the worship of natives.
People came in from all the towns, bringing cooked
food for the occasion. The king sent a goodly portion
to the mission-house, which was divided among the
carpenters, native assistant missionary, students, and
both mission families.
" At the beating of the drums we assembled in the
large chapel. Mr. Tait commenced the service, and
Matthias offered a very earnest and comprehensive
prayer. Mr. Tait addressed the congregation in a
rejoicing strain, and then, to my great surprise,
called upon the king's nephew, Zaccheus, to read a
long and most kind address to me and my wife (who
was also present) from the king and people. The
address was as follows :
" ' To MR. CALVERT. We rejoice in seeing you
and your wife to-day. We are grateful to God for
lengthening out your life to this one day of glad-
ness. We are inclined to remember your former
residence here. When you first came to Fiji our
elders were heathen, and painful things thereby
frequently came upon you. You diligently taught
them the Word of God ; but they despised it, and
* A memorial of the jubilee of the Wesleyan Missionary
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 195
they pained you in many ways. And we, their
children, express our gratitude for your endurance
of them. Now, all heathenism is abolished, and we
serve the true God.
" ' Behold what has been effected during your
living in Fiji ! When you first came, chiefs hated
one another, and disputed, and evil often arose.
But in this age we each dwell comfortably in his
own house with our families, and we have no cause
of anxiety. When you arrived, the young people
and children were very dark, and there was no book
for them to read ; but now all the children and
youths read, and we have the Holy Scriptures as
" a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path."
When you first came, there were few indeed who
worshipped God; but now, in connection with
Lakemba, we are upwards of four thousand joined
to the Church, and there is not one heathen on
Lakemba, nor on any of the lands over which our
king reigns. We bow before Jehovah, and Him
only we wish to serve.
" ' And we have determined to have a good house
in which to worship God ; and this day we begin to
build our wooden church. We are very glad that
you have managed to come to plant the first post ;
and we beg you will intercede with God on behalf
of this our work, that good may therefrom arise to
196 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
" ' We have heard that you two are preparing to
return to England. It is right that you should
go and see your children ; but we beg you will not
forget us. When you are comfortably settled
in England, remember us, and pray for us ; and
entreat some young ministers to come to Fiji, to
instruct us in the Word of God. Both of you, go in
peace, remembering the word of David : " He that
goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed,
shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing
his sheaves with him." And now we bid you fare-
well. Our prayers shall follow you, and we will
prepare to meet you in heaven.
" ' Signed. On behalf of the chiefs, EDWARD, Tui
NAYAU (the king), ZACCHEUS
SOKOTUKIVEI, NATHANAEL SAMANI,
" ' On behalf of the native agents,
ISAIAH VATA, JOEL KOROIKATA,
" ' On behalf of the Church members,
STEPHEN BABA, ISAAC KALOU.'
" I received the address, and with deep feeling
spoke to the congregation, referring to my arrival
just twenty-five years ago, to my continuous and
successful toils for nearly ten years, to personal and
family afflictions and health, to the glorious fact
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 197
that a great work of God has been wrought through
the Circuit, and to the immense help afforded to our
work throughout Fiji, and even to the distant island
of Kotumah, by cheerful and hearty labourers sent
forth from this Circuit. I warned them against
being led astray by spirituous liquors, or by pur-
chasing useful goods before they were able to pay
for them. I urged them to use the earth so abun-
dantly given to them, by planting sufficient food for
their own consumption, and for sale, and cotton and
coffee. I entreated them not to rest without being
quite clear in their conversion to God, to seek for
increase of Divine grace, and to walk circumspectly.
As they had taken a leading and prominent part in
the spread of Christianity, I expressed a hope that
the Gospel would be advanced by the people of the
" On my first arrival, there were two hundred and
sixty-four Church members in this Circuit, now
there are four thousand. I baptised twelve adults
some of rank from the king's town, and two
children. Three of the chiefs delivered effective
" We assembled on the site of the new chapel. It
is to be an octagon building. The width will be
sixty-two feet, with a six and a half feet verandah all
round, making the extreme width seventy-five feet.
The estimated cost is to be twenty-six tons of oil,
198 JAMES CALVERT OF PUT.
worth, on the spot, about '600. We sang a hymn,
composed for the occasion by Mr. Tait, who, on
behalf of the building committee, presented me with
a wooden mallet, inlaid with whale's tooth and pearl
shell, and an iron-wood digging stick, with which I
set the post with the usual form, and delivered a
short address to the surrounding multitude. The
children chanted a piece which they had got up to
welcome our visit, and gave me their dresses.*
Nathan Thataki offered an appropriate prayer. The
people made a contribution of oil, and resolved upon
a united effort to complete the chapel, free from
debt, before we leave Fiji ; and they request me to
come to the opening, should it be finished. All
went off remarkably well.
" Inside a charred log of green-heart which will
be likely to be in good condition when some of the
children of the past and present race of missionaries
may be carrying on the work begun by us were
nicely placed, in a sealed bottle, a Watchman, con-
taining news of the last Conference, an Australian
Report and Notice, a Circuit Plan, No. 1 of the
Fijian Quarterly, edited by the Rev. J. Carey, and
a statement of the commencement of the mission
* A Fijian custom in making a complimentary presenta-
tion, the persons taking part in it having put on an over-
dress of native cloth for the purpose.
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 199
at Lakemba, names of foreign labourers, and the
present statistics of the Circuit."
After describing a watch-night service that was
held, he writes on January 1st of the new year :
" I long for this to be by far the best year I have
enjoyed and lived. And why not ? The Lord has
richer and much more abundant blessings in store
than I have yet had, and He is willing to bestow
them. He delights in blessing. I shall doubtless
have a better year than I have had heretofore, if I
take care to live more fully to God every day and
every hour, and be mindful to look to and acknow-
ledge Him in everything, ' and whatsoever I do in
word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God and the Father by Him,' and
' do all things without murmuring and disputings ;
that I may be blameless and harmless, a child of
God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and
perverse nation, among whom may I shine as a
light in the world ; holding forth the Word of Life,
that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have
not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.' I hope
to give increased attention to prayer and the Scrip-
tures. The Lord help and bless us ; and help and
bless our beloved ones and friends far away !
" The close of the old year is celebrated by prepar-
ing food. Fijians are very fond of a little feasting.
200 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
The king's principal daughter, to whom I frequently
gave medicine twenty years ago, when she was nigh
unto death, in grateful remembrance, gave me a
pig. She is likely soon to become a class-leader.
The king sent me two live turtles, and a large
supply of cooked taro, puddings, fish, and ripe
bananas ; and afterwards his wife brought from him
a head of turtle-shell, weighing three pounds and a
half. He has been very thoughtful and kind during
our stay, and sent me several pigs, fishes one weigh-
ing twenty-five pounds fowls, new yams, taro, and
"January 3rd. In preaching this morning, I
observed an old man devouring the Word, and evi-
dently alive to God in his soul, and I called upon him
to pray. He prays simply and heartily. Formerly
he was an adept at stealing our poultry, and boasted
of his cleverness and boldness. After that now
many years ago he suffered much, and for a long
time, from simple tetanus, and Mr. Lyth and I paid
diligent attention to him. Happily, he had no
friends who cared so much for him as to take him
out of our hands and put him under Fijian doctors,
who have to be paid well. He was left entirely to
us, and we persevered. This was one of the very
few cases of tetanus we have cured. Zechariah
Koroi-mata-ni-tuka is a very good case. Who knows
what good may be obtained and promoted by pro-
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 201
longing life ? He is now a class-leader, and his
countenance shows that he is really a happy man.
Such a man does good every day. He has two boys
with Mr. Tait. One nurses the child, and amuses
him well, and milks the goats ; the other, Stephen,
is steward, and makes bread and cooks first-rate. He
goes about his work like a little man, and is a great
comfort to Mr. Tait when voyaging about, making
cakes and other comforts. Ay, one would almost
like to be young again, to have a good long term of
Fijian mission life under the new economy ! How-
ever, mine must be the rejoicing of a gladdened
heart, at what has been wrought by the grace and
providence of God among a people so deeply de-
graded and long neglected, and at the present state
and prospects of the work generally. The work
throughout the Circuit is in a healthy and pro-
sperous condition, Mr. Tait walking in the steps of
his predecessor, and keeping all in good order."
When Mr. Calvert came out this second time, it
was fully understood and arranged that his stay
would be short. All his plans were made for return-
ing at the end of three years ; but the health of the
Eev. Joseph Waterhouse, one of the most experienced
and effective of the missionaries, entirely broke down.
Mr. Calvert immediately decided to remain until the
202 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
In December he attended a school feast at Mbau,
at which sixteen hundred scholars were present. It
lasted two days, and was a very successful and happy
festival. The repeating of portions of Scripture and
the reading were good ; some progress had been made
in arithmetic; and the Scripture lessons showed that
the teachers had done their work well. Thence he and
Mrs. Calvert went on to Kewa, and then to Kandavu,
to make a special inspection of the District Institution
at Richmond Hill for the training of teachers.
" Mr. Nettleton has entered on his duties most
heartily. He spends four hours a day in teaching,
and hears one student preach every week, and meets
all in class. There are now thirty-five students
being a much larger number than heretofore ; and I
hope the number will be increased to forty-two. They
are healthy, diligent, clean, and nicely dressed, and
respectful in their behaviour. They read remarkably
well, and have got on in arithmetic ; are sound and
well up in the doctrines of Holy Scripture, and preach
good sermons. In meeting them all in class, I was
delighted with the clearness and depth of their
Christian experience. They are truly alive to God ;
their souls prosper and are in health ; and this, in
Fiji, as everywhere else, is a great point. My heart
was gladdened in the class-meeting, and I rejoiced
greatly to find this Institution the hope of the
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 203
future in Fiji in full and very successful operation.
Mrs. Nettleton, having a mind to work, makes good
use of her eminent qualifications as a teacher, devot-
ing much time to the twenty wives of the married
students.* She teaches them to sew, read, and
write, meets a class, and gives Bible lessons. There
is a marked improvement in these women, who will
also be useful in places where their husbands labour.
Mrs. Nettleton, with the harmonium and piano and
her voice, teaches the men to sing well, thus qualify-
ing them for leading the singing, and to teach others
also when they get into their work. The students
get healthful exercise by planting a good deal of
food, so that they will raise nearly all that they
require when the present abundant crops are
mature. A considerable quantity of cotton is
planted ; and one of the gins [machines for sepa-
rating the seeds from the cotton], generously sent
to my care by J. Eobinson Kay, Esq., is stationed
here. By these industrial pursuits the annual cost
of the Institution will be much lessened, and the
students will be trained practically to encourage
industry wherever they go."
It was now decided that Mr. Calvert should leave
Fiji when the Wesley returned from her next visit.
* The students lived in small houses within the Institution
204 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
He writes to a friend :
"At our age, I find we have been quite long
enough. But it gives one real comfort to come and
begin work at once, and to feel that the knowledge
one has of persons and things and language enables
one to be of service in so many ways. One hardly
likes to give it all up. I should prefer to be where I
can best serve Fiji as long as I live; and I know that
the heart of my good wife is in unison with my own."
Some one had suggested to him that they might
settle in one of the Australian colonies. He did not
think this at all likely, but hoped that, if it were to
be so, he might then, perhaps, after an interval, be
able to give another short period of service in Fiji.
At the beginning of July, after holding the District
Meeting, he went in the Wesley to visit Eotumah once
more, where a missionary, Mr.Fletcher, was now placed.
" I was very pleased with the improved appearance
of the people as I passed along. They are much
cleaner than when I saw them fifteen months ago.
After the service Mr. Fletcher being away preach-
ing elsewhere I asked the Fijian teacher who had
conducted it to interpret for me to the people who
were gathered together ; but, not having been accus-
tomed to such work, he felt awkward, and had to say
he could not manage it. But Mrs. Fletcher, who
was present with her four children, stood up and
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 205
kindly offered to relieve him and help me. So I
again had the pleasure of addressing my Eotuman
friends through a very ready interpreter. ... I took
with me six or eight months' letters. They just
peeped into a few, and found that all was well at
home. After tea, Mr. F. sent to some white men
living near, and I preached at seven in English.
My welcome was most hearty. . . . The Church
membership has increased about two hundred this
year. Our people now outnumber the heathen and
Papists. . . . From the number and healthy ap-
pearance of the children in Eotumah I judge the
population to be on the increase, which is, I fear, a
rare thing in the South Seas. The Eotuman s, when
right in their souls, are likely to go forth as evan-
gelists to other islands in regions beyond. I met
my old servant, Kaitu, a Eotuman, who took the
Gospel to Nukufetau, one of De Peyster's group,
situate near the line. All the people there are lotu,
through this instrumentality. He had lately come
to Eotumah with four Nukufetauans in search of a
teacher and books."
He got back safely to Ovalau, and set off the next
day to Mbau. Two days after
" Daniel Afu and Joseph Nokilevu, a Tongan and
Fijian, having been faithful during their four years
of probation, were ordained. They made a noble
206 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
statement. The six missionaries present, with Joel
Bulu, ordained by the imposition of hands, and I
spoke from the first portion of Scripture read on the
occasion. I administered the Sacrament to the
newly ordained men, to the missionaries and their
wives, who were joined by the king and queen, and
their eldest daughter a very good woman, and a
class-leader and by the wife of a devoted native
missionary. It was a time of refreshing."
This last episcopal act of Mr. Calvert in his district
was further memorable as the first instance in the
mission in which a native missionary had taken part
in the act of ordination. It was in all respects
fitting that the first in this service should be the
saintly and heroic Joel Bulu.
" On Sabbath, the 2nd of July, I preached my fare-
well sermon at Mbau. On the 4th I went to Rewa,
on the 5th to the new station up the river, occupied
by Mr. Baker, who, after pioneering and faithful
services in other parts, is our ' Missionary to the
Interior.' * All were busy at this site on the hill.
I trust many heathen will soon hear words of salvation,
and that the work of Christ will spread and prosper.
* This able missionary, in the prosecution of his work in
the mountainous interior of Viti Levu, was killed and eaten,
together with a devoted native teacher who accompanied
him, the only missionary who lost his life by violence in
the whole course of this most perilous mission.
HOME, AND RETURN TO FIJI. 207
" On the 8th I met Mrs. Calvert, quite well, at
Kandavu. On Sunday morning I preached in Fijian.
In the afternoon, Mr. Nettleton preached in English,
in Mr. White's house, to us and the people from the
Wesley. On the llth Mrs. Calvert and I went to the
Eichmond Theological Institution, to pay our last
visit to Mr. and Mrs. Nettleton, and to bid farewell
to the students. There will be the full number of
forty-two this year. In the afternoon I addressed
them. We had a gracious visitation from on high.
The appearance of the students, and that of their
wives and children, was very satisfactory. On
Wednesday morning I preached to the teachers and
stewards from the various parts of Kandavu. On
Thursday morning I found that I had overtaxed my
strength, by excitement, want of sleep, and labour ;
and I felt unfit to administer the Sacrament at dawn
of day to the teachers and local preachers previous
to our departure. My head was swimming. I had
a hot bath, in which I lay for some time, and then
washed over with a bucket of cold water. This
afforded me perfect relief, as it has done on former
occasions. I then joined Mr. White and the two
native missionaries, and we administered to one
hundred and twenty-seven workers. I gave a short
address. We felt it good to be there.
" Before sunrise next morning the sailors were sing-
ing merrily at the windlass, and the Wesley's bell
208 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
rang for us. We here went through our severest
pang in parting. Our wives had a hard struggle,
and each of us shed many tears, and offered earnest
prayers on behalf of each other. Our best and most
faithful servant, who had been with us since our
arrival, was with us to the last, and was overpowered
with distress. On the 14th of July we left Fiji.
" These have been four happy and busy years. We
feel that we did right in coming back for another
term of service : and though we are persuaded that
it is right for us now to leave, to take charge of our
beloved children, who have been treated with ex-
treme kindness by numerous friends during the
whole period of our absence from them, yet we have
pain and sorrow in parting with brethren and sisters
and converts, and the work we love so much."
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA.
Busy Occupation in Australia. Voyage Home. Bromley. Work
for Fiji. For the Bible Society. Offer for Service in South
Africa. Appointment to Bloemf ontein. Arrival. Boers and
Natives. Appointed to the Diamond Fields. New Rush.
The Native Problem. His Work and its Circumstances.
Removal to the Transvaal. Potchef stroom. Return to
Kimberley. Address and Presentation on leaving. England.
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA.
ON leaving Fiji Mr. Calvert spent six months in
Australia. As soon as he landed, he found
very busy occupation in translation, and in getting
work printed in time to be sent down to the
Islands by the earliest opportunity. From Sydney
he writes : "I think I have hardly ever been
so continually on full stretch at hard work as I
have been during my stay here. Two sermons and
a Sunday School address each Sunday, and several
night meetings, and long walks during the week,
and the printing. . . . We shall be hard at it right
to the last." Much the same sort of occupation
went on in Victoria, and afterwards in Adelaide,
where he attended the sittings of the Conference.
When on board the Yatala, that was to bring him
home, he wrote to a friend, giving an account of his
doings before starting, and then of the voyage. He
describes a ride in burning heat and smothering
dust to Kooringa, at the great Burra mines. He
took three services on the Sunday, and attended a
212 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Missionary Meeting on the Monday, and collected
20. The next day he travelled twenty-five miles
further to Clare, and held another meeting in the
Town Hall. He got back to Adelaide in time to
attend a meeting to take farewell of the Rev. William
Taylor of California, who had been doing a very
successful work in the colony. The hearts of the
Adelaide people were quite won by Mr. and Mrs.
Calvert, and, in a few days afterwards, another meeting
assembled to bid them God-speed. A gold watch and
chain were presented to Mrs. Calvert, and to him,
" An emu's egg inkstand, mounted with silver, and
elegantly got up in Adelaide by a German, with the
figures of a black man and woman, and a bunch of
grapes ; also an address written on parchment. A
large party of friends assembled. Mr. Watsford took
the chair. Mr. Dunn spoke very kindly of the
encouragement we had given them, and dwelt
strongly on my letters to him and to the brethren,
and on my labours in Fiji. John Colton, Esq., who
presented the watch and inkstand, was pleased to
testify to what he and all had felt under my ministra-
tions, and to the impression mother and I had made
upon them. Several others spoke, and said that they
had never seen the mission work in so clear a light ;
and they had resolved to attend to it much better
than they had done. I had liberty in thanking the
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 213
friends, and giving a few words of exhortation, which
were well received. The ladies then gave mother a
purse containing the overplus of 12, all saying that
much more would have been given had they not
been so hurried. All was done heartily. We then
went to lunch at a friend's house, and several went
with us in the train to Port Adelaide nine miles
and there we parted with them. Others accom-
panied us in the steamer to the ship.
" Thus ended our eleven weeks in New South Wales,
eight weeks in Victoria, and eight weeks in South
Australia. I left in exceedingly good health, and my
beloved wife was quite well and strong and happy.
We have had a very prosperous and happy and hard-
working sojourn in the Colonies. While in Adelaide,
we received letters from Fiji. The missionaries were
astonished at, and most grateful for, the great
amount of printing I had accomplished in Sydney,
where I had the poor printers at work all night. . . .
" I shall expect that the Mission House will allow
me two years for work that is much required, and
which no one will ever accomplish while in Fiji.
However long I may live, I am quite sure that I
shall, in life and death, be happier should I complete
a book of New Testament References, and Hunt's
' System of Theology,' towards the expense of which I
have 100 in hand. . . . When in England T often
felt the need of a clever native; and, without
214 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
naming it to any one, to gain the opportunity of
consulting natives [in translation work] was one great
object in my return to Fiji. And I have been
through the New Testament eight times while there.
So the Bible Society will not give their money for
that which has cost nothing. . . .
" Poor mother has been suffering for two days
from bilious headache, under which she was very
patient ; and she was much sympathised with by the
passengers, who greatly missed her. She is now
quite well. I seem to enjoy voyaging in these large
vessels, as I can write and think and read. ... At
9.30 A.M. and 8 P.M. we have family prayer, con-
ducted by the Bishop ; and he has service twice on the
Sabbath. I have family worship forward at 7.30 P.M.,
with the second class passengers and some of the
sailors, and at 9 and 5 on the Sabbath. Last Sunday
the Bishop, with many of the first class passengers,
came to hear me. I expected to have had some
portion of the services in the saloon, but his lordship
and the captain wished me to take the other ; and I
endeavour to carry out my old and valuable principle,
to make the best of everything, and quietly and
earnestly labour on in the appointed sphere, trusting
that God will bless me and make me a blessing." . . .
" March 22nd. On Sunday last I could not hold
our 9 A.M. service in the usual place forward on
deck in front of the forecastle, where many of the
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 215
sailors attended, and others heard. I went to mid-
ship, followed by my congregation of second class
passengers, who preferred this place. I did not like
it so well, as none of the sailors were present. As it
rained at the time of our evening service, I proposed
to go forward at 7, and preach in the forecastle to
the sailors and any who might attend. When I
went forward I found a chest well elevated, and
neatly covered with white calico, on which was a
champagne bottle with a long lighted candle, and a
tumbler of water. There was also a sack as a carpet
to kneel upon, and the sailors, neatly dressed, were
on their chests all round the forecastle. Many of
the second class passengers, and some from the
saloon, were present, and I very much enjoyed
the opportunity of declaring to a most attentive
congregation that man ' must be born again.' "
" March 23rd. After dinner yesterday, Captain
Legoe wished all to fill their glasses, as the Bishop
would propose the health and happiness of two of our
number. In a neat speech, in which he referred to
our history, our mission to Fiji, and to the respect in
which all held us, he proposed, ' Mr. and Mrs. Calvert.
Many happy returns of the day ! ' All joined heartily ;
and I had to return thanks for the very kind remarks
which his lordship had made, and express my grati-
tude to God for the happiness of twenty-eight years
of married life, and thankfulness that we had been
216 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
permitted to labour successfully so long in Christ's
cause abroad, and I suggested that the young people
on board should take care to be well married. After
my wife and I had been forward to conduct family
worship, and when prayer was over in the saloon at
9, we retired to our cabin, and read Rev. xxii.,
and Hymn 510. And we each poured out our grate-
ful hearts to Almighty God for His distinguished
and long-continued goodness to us and to ours ; and
we prayed that God's choicest blessings might rest
upon you all ; and that in all our future we might
cheerfully and faithfully serve Him. I believe our
future will be ordered of the Lord, and if so all will
be quite right. Sometimes though my mind is at
rest I wonder as to our future ; and I hope we may
not shrink from whatever God may require of us. I
have some fears lest I should be induced hereafter to
undertake what I shall not be able to accomplish,
and thus make a too early and unsatisfactory finish.
I will hope and try, however, to avoid this.
" The Yatala Times of next morning reported :
' Rev. Mr. Calvert's Wedding Anniversary. On
Thursday afternoon the Lord Bishop of Adelaide
proposed the health of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert, it
being the anniversary of their wedding-day. The
reverend gentleman had endeared himself by his
noble mission to the Fiji Islands. His work of
faith and labour of love deserved the highest praise.
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 217
He had preached the Gospel, and taught the science
of civilisation, and had done much in correcting the
translations made by Wesleyan missionaries, having
carefully read several times over with native teachers
the Holy Scriptures in the Fijian language. Mis-
sionary enterprise is connected with the highest
development of human progress. Commerce and
civilisation follow the evangelical economy. Such a
labourer is received into all communities as a friend
to the barbarian ; and though he may be taken from
his much-loved work, yet his record and reward are
on high. The reverend gentleman rose to reply.
He thanked his lordship and the company for
drinking his health, and said his married life had
been happy, having enjoyed each other's confidence.
As the servants of Jesus Christ, they had aimed at
faithfulness; and had he another life it should be
spent in the same glorious cause. So closed the
twenty-eighth anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. Calvert's
" Cape Town, April 3rd After a very comfortable
passage of thirty-nine days, we landed three days ago
at this place, where we have much enjoyed our stay
under the roof of the mission-house and chapel,
all built together in one block by Barnabas Shaw.
On Sunday afternoon I addressed all the Sunday
School children ; and in the evening, to a full congre-
gation, I gave an address on the Fiji mission.
218 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Yesterday we went out by train eight miles to
Wynberg, with a thousand children, and, I suppose, a
thousand adults, to a Sunday School treat; and a
real treat we had."
In the spring of 1866 he settled once more in
England, at Bromley, in Kent ; and in the following
year his name appears as a supernumerary ; and so it
stood up to the Conference of 1871. This meant
that he had no specific pastoral charge ; but, in his
own practical interpretation of it, it by no means
meant a retirement from active work. He was in
an important sense and in a sense which involved
much cheerfully rendered labour agent in England
for the Fiji mission and missionaries. It was a rare
thing to find him during this period without his
hands full of translation, or revision, or publishing
work. A great deal of this was done to meet the
growing demands of the mission schools, for the use
of which he procured various apparatus and ap-
pliances. A large portion of his time was spent in
frequent travelling throughout Great Britain and
Ireland, pleading everywhere on behalf of the
mission cause, using the ample stores of his own
experience and observation as the most effective of
To the furthering of the interests of the British
and Foreign Bible Society he gave himself with an
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 219
unfailing enthusiasm. In this he was moved, not
only by seeing the unanswerable claims which that
great Society had upon all the churches, but by a
profound sense of gratitude. It had given timely
and most generous help again and again to his own
beloved Fiji ; and he knew, and rejoiced to acknow-
ledge, that the mission there, like other missions all
the world over, had become dependent on its aid for
its most essential means of progress. So he went
up and down the country, regardless of all denomi-
national prejudice, or narrow churchisms, setting up,
wherever his frank, hearty presence came, a living
centre of evangelical union. Bigotry must indeed
have been inveterate if it could withstand the quick
warmth of James Calvert's " simplicity and godly
sincerity," as he enforced the Christian duty of
joining in the work of circulating the Word of God.
After six busy and happy years at Bromley there
opened an entirely new, and wholly unexpected,
chapter in Mr. Calvert's history. In 1872 a very
earnest appeal was made to the Wesleyan Missionary
Committee to send out men of administrative ex-
perience to reinforce certain Missions in South
Africa, and, in particular, in the Orange Free State.
It is doubtful whether this appeal would have even
come to Mr. Calvert's notice had not his mind and
his affections been just then much drawn to Bloem-
fontein. In 1869 his second daughter had gone
220 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
thither for the sake of her health. The news con-
cerning her was not hopeful. She was tended with
the most loving care in the home of the Rev. James
Scott ; but her father and mother had a great long-
ing to be with her, and Mr. Calvert put himself at
the disposal of the Committee for service in the
Bloemfontein District. Of course his offer was very
gladly accepted. Preparations were being hastened
to enable them to go out as early as possible after
the Conference of 1872, when a letter came from
Mr. Scott telling them of their daughter's death.
Mr. Calvert was at once set free from his engage-
ment. But he and his devoted wife, having been
led to give themselves again to foreign work, re-
fused to draw back, and renewed their offer, with
this difference, that they declared themselves ready
to go wherever the Committee judged they could be
of most service. It was decided that, after all, Mr.
Calvert should be sent to Bloemfontein ; and the
event proved the wisdom of the arrangement. Those
who knew him best had seen for some time that
the unabated fervour of the old missionary spirit in
him was making him restless in his position of com-
parative retirement. He was in his sixtieth year,
and he knew that neither he nor his wife could
again stand the work in the South Seas. The
opening now made was singular, and altogether
unusual. In a climate that would not tax his
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 221
strength, there was work waiting, in the doing of
which his age, carrying with it ripeness of charac-
ter, and large experience, would be a chief quali-
fication. Thus it was that, when his many friends
and few men had more thought that he had
settled down to a well-earned rest, he went to
He crossed the Orange Eiver on December 17th,
and reached Bloemfontein on the 20th. The
veteran missionaries for the title belongs as much
to Mrs. Calvert as to her husband with their third
daughter, who had accompanied them, thus found
themselves in the home whence their beloved one
had passed away; and the strange land seemed
hardly strange to them as they bowed in the
household worship in which she had so often joined.
An early visit was paid to the little graveyard in
the outskirts of the town ; and then, forthwith, to
The conditions and circumstances of the work
were, of course, all new. In the Free State Mr.
Calvert found himself in foreign territory. The
government and the language were Dutch. There
was a considerable English community of merchants
and traders, and an Episcopal and a Wesleyan
church. But all besides was Dutch; and, for the
first time, he came into contact with the Boer
element. It is true he had very little to do with
222 JAMES GAL VERT OF FIJI.
the Boers ; but during his stay among them his
long-practised powers of observation helped him to
gain valuable knowledge of a people, strikingly
peculiar in their modes of thought and habits of
life, whose religious opinions and political influence
must be understood by any one who would take
an active interest in South African affairs. Then
almost everywhere were the natives. From his
first landing at Cape Town Mr. Calvert had in-
stinctively given his attention to these. They
were very different from those other dark people
among whom his life had been spent, and his
ready command of the musical Fijian tongue did
him no service here. From first to last, while in
Africa, this bar between him and the native people
was a trouble to him. He was too old to begin
learning another language. But he lost no oppor-
tunity of showing his lively missionary interest in
the original sons of the soil, and of warmly urging
all young missionaries to lose no time in mastering
the native tongues.
His stay at Bloemfontein was very short. At the
District Meeting, held in January 1873, he was
appointed to superintend the Diamond Fields and
New Rush Circuit, where he arrived in the beginning
of April. A man who had spent his life in minister-
ing in a highly organised church at home would
have found himself much perplexed by the state of
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 223
things at the Diamond Fields. That which was to be
Kimberley had just come into existence, under the
title of New Rush, not growing from small begin-
nings, as towns usually grow, but made suddenly by
a "rush," which, with a magical rapidity, brought
twenty thousand people together in one spot. Some
years before, diamonds had been found along the
banks of the Vaal River, and an almost exclusively
male population of ten thousand was drawn together
there from many lands. Then, in 1870, the news
went round of a new " find " further south, between
the Vaal and Modder Rivers, and the " rush " followed
immediately which made Kimberley. In a barren,
parched desert, there spread out a vast irregular en-
campment around Dutoitspan and Bultfontein, where
a rare building of wood or iron, standing here and
there, was a very palace amidst the universal canvas.
What were called streets stretched shelterless beneath
the burning sun, deep in hot sand and dust. Of
water there was but little, and what there was was bad.
The common necessaries of life could be got only at
fabulous prices. As anything like organised sanitary
provisions and precautions was, as yet, out of the
question, it naturally followed that the unwholesome
conditions of life, often terribly aggravated by reck-
less drinking, made this new settlement of diggers a
hotbed of fever. Everything was almost incredibly
dear ; but money was plentiful, and was freely
224 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
squandered in indulgence of the worst vices of the
world's great cities. The population was made up
of many nationalities, amongst which the British
element was most numerous ; while a great deal of
the labour was supplied by men of various native
tribes, some of them coming from immense distances.
When our mission party came on the ground, the
original disorder had already begun to yield to
Government control. Kespectable merchants had
settled with their families in the new town, some
from the colonies, and some from other lands.
Houses having some claims to be reckoned per-
manent and comfortable had been built, and churches
and schools had been erected. If the community
had, to a lamentable extent, the impatient and
thoughtless sins of youth, it had also young vitality,
and strength, and' hope.
Into this busy multitude of eager diamond-seeking,
money-making people, Mr. Calvert came, taking up
the new work with all the old ardour and devotion.
He saw at once that the population was too mixed,
and too much wanting, as yet, in cohesion, to be
wrought upon in masses, and that, however great the
task, his ministry must be very largely addressed to
individuals. So forthwith he and Mrs. Calvert became
known as genial and welcome visitors in the homes
of Kimberley, whether beneath roofs of iron, or
canvas, and most frequent and most welcome visitors
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 225
where there was sickness and trouble. There are
yet people belonging to the old digging community
of those days who talk about this kindly, faithful
service with affectionate gratitude.
The missionary problem, presented by the con-
dition of the native races as he came into contact
with them, caused Mr. Calvert much anxious con-
sideration. When he had been a few months on
the ground, he wrote :
"The native work in this country will, I fear,
become more and more difficult. It was a great
relief to us in Fiji that we were able to make all
speak one language.* Here it is impossible. On
these Fields we have natives speaking many
languages, not understanding each other at all, and
altogether heathen. They are allowed to live here,
and go about almost naked. Though, professedly,
canteen-keepers are not allowed to sell to the natives,
yet very many are drunk. They exist in tents ; and
how life is kept in them this cold weather, just
lying on the ground, is a puzzle. After remaining
awhile here, well paid, and some of them, no doubt,
stealing diamonds from their employers, they buy
* There were several distinct, but not widely different,
dialects in the Group. The missionaries decided to adopt the
Mbau dialect ; and the result fully proved the wisdom of this
226 JAMES CALVER1 OF FIJI.
muskets and ammunition, and then return to their
own country, in various directions, and to consider-
able distances, having learned new vices, as well as
how to sort and dig for diamonds. I yearn over
them, but seem unable to benefit them. We have
native services in the Dutch, Kafir, and Sesuto
languages, and have some valuable local preachers
working for their employers, and some digging and
sorting for themselves in a mound where the diamonds
are small and few ; and we have some consistent
church members among them. Just now, the Kafirs
and other natives have purchased a canvas English
chapel ; and some Dutch-speaking natives from the
Cape, who will not worship with the other inferior
Africans, have erected a new canvas chapel at their
own cost, which I opened free of debt on Sabbath
The yearning of which he speaks caused the old
missionary some little trouble. The colonials, and
other white people around him, found it very diffi-
cult to appreciate his feelings in this matter, as he
also found it impossible to adjust his missionary
instincts to the colonial standard. On one occasion,
to save himself a walk of three or four miles, he had
told some natives, who were willing to do that
which was lawful and right in their domestic re-
lations, to come to the English chapel to be married.
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 227
Anxious to come as near as they could to the civilised
fashion, they appeared at the appointed time in seven
or eight carts, drawn by two horses apiece. Hereupon
followed a panic, and it was declared that the white
people would not come to worship in the chapel if
it came to be known that " niggers " had been
married in it. Mr. Calvert hastened to take on
himself all the blame of this unintentional outrage
upon white Christianity, and said that he would
marry the couples in his own house. " Whereupon,"
he says, " the poor fellows again entered their carts,
and drove eighty or one hundred yards to my
house, where I married them. I felt humiliated,
but patiently submitted and endured."
In a letter to a friend he gives some description
of his work and its surroundings.
" Each of us has plenty of very good employment,
and a heart to enter into it ; and we feel happy in
our position and service. The population is very
various and large. I have two or three services
every Sunday, with good congregations. On Monday
night I have a class of hearty members, at which
we muster twelve or thirteen regularly. On Tuesday
I hold the prayer-meeting, when we have a goodly
company. On Thursday night I preach alternately
here at the West End and East End. I also go to
our chapel at Dutoitspan, not quite three miles
228 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
away. ... Of course our expenses are rather heavy
water, 6d. per 30 gallons ; water for horse, 3cZ.
a day ; a cabbage, 2s. 6d. to 5s. ; eggs, 4cZ. to 6d.
each ; butter, 3s. to 5s. a pound. Meat is pretty
good and quite reasonable. A small loaf of bread
is Is. We have no pence here nothing less than
3cL or Qd. That saves trouble. In every place of
any size in this country there is a market every
morning, and vegetables, eggs, corn, firewood,
forage, poultry, etc., sold by auction by the market
He stayed nearly two years at Kimberley, having
many cheering proofs that his work was successful.
The arid climate and the peculiar conditions of life
were, as he says, trying.
" But I do not feel it right to hurry away. It is a
grand sphere for labour, and we get on remarkably
well with our large congregations and with all
classes. It is most desirable to do all we can to
retain the hold we have upon all ranks, and to
maintain the position we have gained."
But, while he was thus willing to remain, new
work was being made ready for him elsewhere ;
and he was directed to go still further North, and
to cross the river into the Transvaal. In February,
1875, he arrived at Potchefstroom, where there
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 229
awaited him a state of things demanding the ut-
most prudence, and tact, and firmness. It is not
too much to say that there was committed to him
the control and piloting of an almost wrecked
Church. He very soon proved to those who coun-
selled his appointment that their trust in his
sagacity and administrative skill was well grounded.
During his residence of about sixteen months in
Potchefstroom, he saw peace restored, and the chapel
built, which had long stood unfinished. When he
and Mrs. Calvert left, the people thankfully acknow-
ledged that their character and their work had been
the means of bringing about the well-being of the
Church, and had left in their homes lasting memories
of grateful love.
The special work for which he went to Potchef-
stroom having been accomplished, he set out thence,
on June 6th, 1876, for the Natal Colony, accom-
panied for seven miles by a number of friends.
Then they all outspanned, and had " a sumptuous
breakfast together on the ground." Pietermaritz-
burg was reached safely in due time. About two
years were passed here and at Durban without any
incident calling for special record.
Things at Kimberley had not been doing well,
and a strong wish was expressed that Mr. Calvert
should again take charge there. His own family,
of whom there were now several in South Africa,
230 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
discouraged the proposal, especially on the ground
of Mrs. Calvert's health, which had failed seriously
during their residence in the Transvaal. But the
claims of the work seemed so urgent that they
consented to go. He thus came to the Diamond
Fields once more in October 1878, and JMrs. Calvert
followed about six weeks later. They were left in
no doubt about their welcome, and were received
with the warmest affection. They knew the place
well, and all the peculiar conditions of the work
there. In a very short time the Church was once
more healthy and prosperous. It was said that, in
those days, no figure was more generally known in
Kimberley than that of Mrs. Calvert, riding alone on
horseback in all parts of the "camp," in the very
early morning, visiting and helping the sick and
the poor. In addition to his Circuit affairs, Mr.
Calvert had put upon him, for a time, the duties
of Acting Chairman of the whole Bloemfontein
He loved his work, and was much encouraged by
the evidence of success. To the large mixed native
population at the Diamond Fields he gave his most
earnest and sympathetic attention. He regularly
preached to them by means of an interpreter, and
procured the building of chapels and schools for their
benefit. But, while he had as good heart for the
work as ever, he was forced very unwillingly to
HOME, AND SOUTH AFRICA. 231
acknowledge that his long service was telling upon
his strength. In 1879 he wrote :
" I came here at the risk of my health, and even
life, for a short term only, in an extreme and urgent
case. I have done my utmost to get things round,
and the Lord has prospered my endeavours beyond
my utmost hopes, and I am very thankful to Him
for His great blessing. Last summer I very nearly
failed, and it is increasingly manifest to me and to
others that I cannot with any safety undertake the
work here another summer."
Mrs. Calvert's health also was greatly impaired,
so as to cause him at times much uneasiness. There
were difficulties, however, in the providing of a
successor, and he stayed on until the close of 1880.
When it. became known that he was about to take
a final farewell of Kimberley and South Africa, the
grateful love of his Church and congregation found
expression in a public meeting, at which an address
was presented to him and Mrs. Calvert, bearing
thankful witness to the value of their work, and
accompanied by a purse of two hundred and fifty
guineas, to which many of the natives had contri-
buted. Most touching of all was his parting with
the native people, many of whom wept like children,
asking why " the great fathers across the sea were
taking their father from them " ?
232 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
The Triennial Meeting, held at Queenstown,
June 1880, made the following record in its General
"We affectionately commend to the Committee
our honoured and dearly beloved brother, the Kev.
James Calvert. South African Methodists will not
forget his constant zeal for their welfare, and the
ready self-denial with which he consented to defer
his return to England, that he might serve them in
a time of perplexity and need. His resumption of
the work at the Diamond Fields, and his valuable
service there, have further endeared him to his own
brethren ; and his now completed missionary career
will long be treasured in the grateful memory of the
Methodist people at large."
He once more returned to England in April 1881.
THE LATER YEARS
Torquay. Death of Mrs. Calvert. Should Missionaries be Married ?
Penjerrick. Croydon. Gift to the Mission Fund. Fijian
Jubilee. Bible Pictures. Last Voyage to Fiji. Journal.
Tonga. Fiji. New Zealand. San Francisco. Across
America. New York. Home. Speech at City Road Chapel.
Sevenoaks. Missionary Conference of 1888. Marriage.
Hastings. Bible Society. Work for Fiji. Conference at
Nottingham. Temperance. Failing Health. Services in
Hastings. Last Public Act. Last Letter. Last Scripture
Reading. Last Illness. Funeral Service. Testimony of the
Rev. John Walton. A Portraiture. Memorial Sketch by the
Rev. William Arthur.
THE LATER YEARS.
ONCE more at home, although much shaken in
health, Mr. Calvert cheerfully responded, as
far as his strength would permit, and sometimes
beyond his strength, to the many appeals that were
made to him for help as a missionary advocate.
Within a few days of his arrival he received an
enthusiastic welcome at the annual meetings of the
"Wesleyan Missionary Society. At one of these he
told of what he had seen in South Africa, and
insisted strongly on the need of a much larger
employment of native workers in all our missions.
In this speech he gave the first public hint that, old
as he was, there was still an irrepressible longing in
his heart to see his beloved Fiji once more. The
following declaration, made in speaking of the work
of the Eev. Peter Hargreaves, who also had recently
returned from South Africa, and was present at the
meeting, will be recognised by all who knew the
speaker as very characteristic.
"The cheapest and best way of really and per-
236 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
manently benefiting men is to Christianise and save
them from sin, and from the evils and lusts which
produce wars and calamities. Christ made no mistake
when He died to save our race, and required His Gospel
to be preached to every creature. Men like our
brother do much more to prevent war, and keep the
people industrious and right, than large and costly
For the next few months his journal is little more
than an itinerary, merely giving the names of places
all over the country visited in his frequent journeyings,
until September, when, as far as it was then possible
for him to settle anywhere, he settled down at Torquay.
This place had been chosen on account of Mrs. Calvert's
health, which, after many years of remarkable vigour,
was now quite broken. She who had spent her life,
with lavish liberality, in ministering to others, must
now rest passive in the hands of those who tended
her with reverent love, and mourned as they saw that
the old power of recovery was gone, and that she
steadily grew weaker almost day by day. So the
months passed, and the new year had but just come
in, when James Calvert was left without the com-
panionship which, for nearly forty-four years, had
enriched and strengthened his life, and lightened,
in sharing, all his toil.
Mrs. Calvert was an ideal missionary's wife ; one
THE LATER TEARS. 237
of a host of noble women who have done service,
often unrecorded, but beyond all price, in the work of
the Gospel among the heathen. Passing it by alto-
gether as a question of ecclesiastical dogma, the
employment of a celibate clergy in mission work has
much to recommend it on economical grounds,
though, probably, not so much as at first appears.
In the case of married missionaries the risk of life
and health is doubled, perhaps more than doubled,
as the woman's health is more likely to fail, in the
frequent conditions of mission life, than that of the
man. Thus it has very often come to pass that his
active service abroad has been interrupted in conse-
quence of her sickness, just when that service was
most effective. The number of such cases can be
exactly counted. But we have no means of reckoning
the far greater number of men whose service has not
only been prolonged, but made far more efficient, by
the refuge of a home, and the solace and strength-
ening of a loving fellowship. No one can rightly
appreciate this help who has not felt the terrible lone-
liness of living amongst people with whom, not only
religiously, but socially and mentally, there are
scarcely any points of common experience, and where,
in regard to the supreme and intensely felt interest
of his life, he finds no sympathy at all. In the
buoyancy of the first youthful period of the work, this
depressing and enervating influence can be more
238 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
readily surmounted than in the after years, when
there is but little reserve of surplus spirit beyond the
demands of the daily toil. But there is a yet more
positive reason why the man who is a missionary
should avail himself of God's own provident order,
and seek a help who shall be meet for him in his high
calling. In all the many things intimately belonging
to the woman-life, she becomes a teaching priestess
of the kingdom of God. Take the mere fact of the
setting up of a Christian home in one of those Fijian
islands a complete home, with no domestic feature
wanting, though many a domestic comfort might not
be there. What an effective revelation of the
Christian religion, showing, better than any word-
teaching, what family life ought to be, in its loves and
cares, in its duties and relations, and what it can be
under the benignant influence of the Gospel. In all
this most essential part of the teaching of applied
Christian truth Mrs. Calvert greatly excelled; and
her self-devoted toil therein added very greatly
indeed to the efficiency and success of her husband's
work ; while her clear good sense in counsel had been
a strength to him throughout his course. And now
the long, close, faithful fellowship in the service of
the Gospel had come to an end.
In the early part of this year he was taken very ill
at Plymouth, while on his way to Penjerrick with his
daughter ; but a week's rest in that restful and most
THE LATER YEARS. 239
beautiful home, and the kind care of its mistress,
whom he very highly esteemed, did him great good.
To Miss Fox, as well as to many other members of the
Society of Friends, he was closely attached ; and the
Journals and Letters of Caroline Fox was a book in
which he greatly delighted, and which he presented
to many of his friends. Miss Fox, in writing about
him, speaks of " his beaming, happy presence, which
was so remarkable a part of himself, and such an
invitation to the Christian life." From the old
Woodbridge days onwards some of his most valued
friendships were formed amongst the Quakers.
He now removed to Croydon, where he lived for
four years, taking part, with characteristic energy and
liberality, in all Church-work, and, as elsewhere,
gaining the lasting love of many.
During the Missionary Anniversary in the spring
following Mrs. Cal vert's death, there took place, as the
official report says, " one of the most memorable
meetings ever held in Methodism " ; and those who
were present will not consider this to be an exagge-
rated description. The debt of the Missionary Society
had grown to a very large amount ; but a grant from
the Thanksgiving Fund, and some munificent special
donations, had reduced it to 8,000. At the Break-
fast Meeting on April 29th, it was proposed that an
attempt should be made then and there to meet half
of this balance. The proposal was taken up very
240 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
warmly, and the 4,000 were promised on the spot.
In the course of the meeting, Mr. Calvert referred in
a very few words to his recent work in South Africa,
and told how, on his leaving Kimberley, the people
had presented to him an address, which he should
always keep ; but they had also given him a purse
of 250 guineas ; and he now begged to hand over
that amount, in memory of his late beloved wife, to
the funds of the Society, in aid of the effort then
During the next three years he was busily occupied
in much travelling as a witness and advocate on
behalf of the missionary cause, and of the Bible
Society. This brought him into many homes, where
he was a welcome guest, and formed many close
friendships, which he greatly prized, with Christians
of all Churches. Whatever else he did, his one chief
and constant occupation was in the service of his
beloved Fiji. He was never happier than when
superintending publications, executing commissions,
and sending out supplies for the use of the mission
there. And all this time, and long before, there
was the strong desire in his heart to see Fiji once
more. Mrs. Calvert had opposed it. It was im-
possible for her to go with him, and she dreaded
his taking so formidable a journey alone. Before
her death, however, seeing how he hungered to go,
she withdrew her opposition, "whenever the way
THE LATER TEARS. 241
should be clear." The meaning of that condition he
did not see at the time. Her death interpreted it.
But after the great loss his health was in a vefy
unsatisfactory state; and for a time his cherished
project seemed to be hopelessly put aside, for he
believed that his own end was near. He was now
living in Croydon. By the end of 1885, however,
he had recovered much of his strength and energy.
This year was the fiftieth since the coming of the
first missionaries to Fiji, and a great Jubilee celebra-
tion took place in the Islands accordingly. It need
not be said that Mr. Calvert took the most lively
interest herein. There had been a very strong
desire expressed for a large illustrated edition of the
Bible in the native tongue; but this great under-
taking was found to be impracticable. The Eeligious
Tract Society had published a quarto volume of
Bible pictures for the young. Mr. Calvert, seeing
that this would be the next best thing, applied to
the Committee of the Society, and met with a ready
and generous response. They put the whole of the one
hundred and thirty-seven blocks at his disposal, and,
in addition, gave 50 towards the cost of publishing
a Fijian edition. This he set to work, with great
delight, to prepare. All the Scripture quotations
were given in Fijian ; and an edition of six thousand
copies was published, under the name Ai Vakata-
karakara ni Veika e nai Vola Tabu, literally
242 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Pictures of Things in the Bible. It gave immense
delight, and was eagerly sought after. This was the
old missionary's preface, done into English.
" To YOU MY FRIENDS : I rejoice that fifty years
are nearly ended from the time that Christianity
began in Fiji. And I am glad that you intend to
commemorate that great event with rejoicing and
with gratitude to Grod. With you I am greatly
delighted on account of the great work of the Lord
that has been effected in all the islands of Fiji, on
behalf of the numbers who have been saved, and
have gained the Rest, and abide with Jesus ; and also
on account of the very many who now live spiritually,
and are earnestly following the Holy Book. And,
moreover, I exult greatly, and am heartily thankful
that great numbers help well in the work of the
Lord in Fiji, and in other lands. The fruit of
Christianity in Fiji is remarkably clear. Had it
been easy I would have come to you, that we might
have been gladdened together at the Jubilee, yours
and mine, which will come to pass on October llth,
1885, that you and I might have celebrated together
the landing at Lakemba of the first two missionaries
on that day in the year 1835. But as I cannot
easily manage to come to you, I have prepared this
book, that it may be my substitute. I am persuaded
you will like it, and also that it will be useful to
THE LATER TEARS. 243
you. I pray that Christianity may continue to
prosper well in all Fiji, in every age ; and that you
and I may sit down hereafter in the good land above,
with all the saved from all the world. Amen. My
love to you all."
Mr. Calvert here speaks of his visiting Fiji again
as too difficult for him to accomplish; but the
longing for it was so strong that it could not be
mastered. The idea which had been almost con-
stantly before him for some years, he now, in 1886,
determined to carry out at his own cost. His family
and many friends might well have grave misgivings
at the thought of a man of seventy-three under-
taking a journey round the world alone ; but, in his
bright, cheery way, he put aside their fears, and
set about his preparations for the voyage with the
alacrity of youth.
On May 20th, 1886, he started on board the
P. & 0. steamer Ballarat. His journal shows a
very lively interest in all the incidents of the voyage.
Formerly he had gone by a sailing vessel round the
Cape. Now all was new to him. From the captain,
who was a devout Christian man, he received great
kindness, and by his request conducted worship,
morning and evening, on the Sundays. He read a
good deal on the voyage, and before he reached Fiji
went through the whole of the newly Ke vised English
244 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Bible. On the Ked Sea he gave a lecture, probably
on Fiji, "which," he says, "went off well." The
unique character of this visitation tour gives it so
peculiar an interest, that the copious extracts from
the journal given below will certainly be welcome.
" June 7th. Still in the Red Sea, but freed from
the severe oppression which many have to endure.
The captain kindly offered to read the Lesson at the
service yesterday morning. At five, I held our short
service, reading one Lesson, and giving a short address,
occupying altogether forty minutes. A prolonged
service on board ship is always objectionable, and it
could not be endured in this climate. The captain
had compassion on me after the morning service,
and dressed me up in one of his white jackets. This
was a great relief."
" 8th. Aden we pass, and run on to Colombo.
To-morrow the monsoon is expected to be on us. ...
This route through the Eed Sea keeps us long in the
tropics, and is trying ; but I stand it remarkably well.
The most gorgeous sunset I ever remember seeing
a token that we shall soon have the monsoon."
" 10th. During the night strong winds came up.
The portholes all closed. The thermometer im-
proved, from 92 to 81. ... After we passed the
Island of Sokotra the waves increased. Throughout
the day we have had a pleasant breeze, saving us
THE LATER TEARS. 245
from the oppressive heat. I have kept quite well ;
no touch of sea-sickness. And I have had the
privilege of waiting upon some sufferers, who are
most grateful for little attentions. All wonder to
see me so brisk. Still I judged it prudent not to
stick too closely to reading and writing."
" llth. A very blessed Sabbath yesterday. Ser-
vices enjoyable at 10.30 and 5 o'clock. Lady
has read some books I lent her ; but she has a taste
for novels. That destroys, or at least deadens, the
taste for good books. She has a great difficulty in
herself. How sad that those who are enlightened
by the Word and Spirit of God, and have good
desires and purposes, do not fully decide for God !
' Ye cannot serve God and mammon.' The captain
is a practical Christian, and a Yorkshireman. He
is specially delighted with Arthur's Tongue of
" IQth. After a rough and rainy night we
anchored at Colombo early yesterday morning.
After breakfast I landed and went to Colpetty, to
the Rev. J. Scott's. At his house I slept. We
visited the schools, Wesley College in Colombo, a
girls' boarding school in Colpetty, and day school,
the Bible and Tract Depot, of which Mr. Scott is
secretary, his large printing office, where he prints
the Bible for the Bible Society and books for the Tract
Society, and his schools. He also casts type, and
246 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
takes stereotype plates. He sent out announcements
for a service for me in the evening, and we had
a good congregation, who gave me full attention.
This morning, after a second breakfast at 10 o'clock, I
went with Miss Fredoux, Dr. Moffatt's grand-
daughter, to her school in Colombo, for which she
came here six months ago, and I addressed her
hundred most clean and very lively girls."
" 19th. This morning we crossed the Line, and
are now ploughing on our way through the mighty
deep in the southern hemisphere, towards Albany,
King George's Sound, where we hope to be on the
28th. A clergyman came on board at Colombo.
I desired the captain to ask him to take both
services to-morrow. All wish me to continue my
short service with address in the evening. ... I
have reached the southern world without the least
trouble from sea-sickness, which is a terrible dis-
tress to many. And no headache, and no pain of
any kind in any part ; uninterrupted health, and
happy. Truly the blessing of the Lord and His
smile make rich, and add no sorrow. Every day
at 6 A.M. I much enjoy my bath. ... I have my
choice of the baths, as I am generally first."
"2Iat. Our shortest day; your longest. Sun
rises at 6.50."
"25th. We have had it rough for two days.
Yesterday, in a sudden lurch of the ship, I was
THE LATER YEARS. 247
whirled round, and fell with all my weight upon the
rail, across my shoulders. It startled and shook
me. Had the blow been elsewhere I might have
been fatally damaged. We are now nearly out of
the tropics, and it is winter, and will soon be some-
what cold. Already warmer clothing is in demand,
and we are thankful for blankets."
" 29th. Anchored at Albany, a small town at
King George's Sound, Western Australia. Our
minister and his wife, at this dull place, rejoiced
to see me. We prayed together. He thanked
God heartily for my visit, and prayed earnestly that
He would bless, preserve, and prosper me. It was
good to be with Mr. and Mrs. James, though for a
" July 3rd. At 6.40 A.M. we anchored at Glenelg,
Adelaide. Met Mrs. Hambly, John Hunt's daughter,
Chief Justice S. J. Way, the Hon. John Dunn, and
many of our ministers. Our passengers marvelled
at the greetings offered me by the many who met
me, and I very much enjoyed sweet intercourse
sadly too short with men and women I became
acquainted with twenty years ago, on whose hearts
and minds my excellent wife left a lasting and deep
"Adelaide I found to be quite another place,
wonderfully improved since my former visit. The
suburbs, to which they drove me, are admirable. Our
248 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Prince Alfred College, with four hundred pupils, I
was delighted to see."
" 5th. Melbourne. We anchored here at 1 o'clock
this morning. After breakfast I went on shore,
and met my old friend, John Watsford, formerly my
colleague in Fiji, a very hearty and successful
missionary and minister. Here I met the Hon. Mr.
Berkeley, from Fiji, come to meet his wife, who has
come, with her children and mother, in the Ballarat.
He tells me that twenty-five thousand tons of sugar
have been made in Fiji, and that twenty-five thousand
bunches of bananas are sent per month from Fiji to
" 7th. Left Melbourne at 7 A.M., having enjoyed
very much indeed my two days' stay. Brother
Watsford gave all his time to me, and, without
grudging, took me wherever I desired. I thus
found out nearly all my old friends of twenty-one
and thirty-one years ago, when I formerly visited
the colony. All gave me a most hearty welcome,
every one amazed to find me ' hardly changed at all '
since they last saw me ; and all desired God's blessing
on my visit."
" 9th. Sydney. At 8 A.M. we arrived here, on
the fiftieth day from England. I was met on board
by the son of the Kev. J. B. Waterhouse, and by the
Rev. Dr. Kelynack, who took me to his house on the
North shore. My point was to see as many of my
THE LATER YEARS. 249
friends as I could. So I started off with a young
man as my guide, and we accomplished wonders.
I met two Fijian missionaries, the Rev. W. Moore,
an early labourer, and the Eev. A. J. Webb, who has
just completed eighteen years' service."
" 10th. Left Sydney at 11 A.M. bound for Naumea,
New Caledonia, 1,060 miles distant. We found
Naumea illuminated, and a ball and dancing all
night at Government House, and on the Green by
the natives, closing up a four days' festival."
" 1 5th. Now in south latitude 22; quite in the
tropics, but happily in midwinter, if winter can be
found in the tropics."
" I9th. We sighted Mount Washington, Na Buke
Levu, a noted mountain in Kandavu, Fiji, at 5 o'clock
this morning. It is 2,750 feet high. The moon
shone brightly. My heart was deeply moved as I
thought over, with gratitude, and wonder, and joy,
God's dealings with me during the many years since
I landed at Lakemba in 1838.
"At 11.30 we were at Suva, the seat of govern-
ment, a waste place when I was in Fiji, now quite a
large town, with steamers, and vessels, and small
craft at anchor.* This is the sixtieth day since I
left London. In 1838 I was nearly eight months
between London and Fiji. I was glad to hear that
* The cession of Fiji to Great Britain took place in 1879.
250 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Mr. Langham, from Mbau, was actually at Suva. On
landing, I started off in search of him. He was not
expecting me for a fortnight. As I went up a street
he observed me with another, but concluded that it
was a man much too young for me, and so let me
pass by. He was overjoyed to meet me, and gave
me the heartiest welcome. Here I met the Kev.
E. E. Crosby from Tonga.
"The small steamer Suva starts to-morrow for
Tonga. Both Mr. Langham and I think I had
better go in her now to Tonga with Mr. Crosby. So
to-morrow night we start. She will be back here in
a fortnight, but I in six or ten weeks, as I may
find it desirable to remain.
" The acting Governor, the Hon. J. B. Thurston, on
hearing of my arrival, sent his private secretary,
desiring me to take up my abode at Government
House during my stay. After dinner the Governor
sent for some trustworthy natives and teachers, who
knew me. I had a most enjoyable chat with them
about old times and old friends."
"20th. At 11 P.M. we left in the Suva"
"2lst. At 7 A.M. we came alongside the pier at
Levuka, Ovalau. Here I had resided four years
(see p. 1 85). The new missionary and his wife, Mr. and
Mrs. Worrall, gave me an enthusiastic reception.
We enjoyed a hearty breakfast, after which I had a
most refreshing bath in a very large wooden bowl,
THE LATER YEARS. 251
about seven feet by three and a half, which I sent
to Mr. and Mrs. Binner about forty years ago. Left
Levukaat 11 P.M."
"22nd. Vuna at 9.15 A.M. We were hardly
two hours on shore, but we got the thirty teachers
together, and I addressed them. All came neatly
dressed, and were very attentive."
"23rd. Anchored at Lomaloma, Vanua Balavu,
at 12.45. The Eev. J. Chapman has the very same
Circuit the head of which was then Lakemba,
eighty miles to windward, where I resided in which
I spent the first ten years of my missionary life.
He rejoiced to tell me of numerous conversions in
this large Circuit of about forty islands, and I was
gladdened by hearing of them. No one makes any-
thing out in religion without a real reformation in
condition, heart, and life. Children and young people
require this thorough change as much as their fore-
fathers needed it ; and they must have it as the
groundwork of right practice."
" 26th. -Reached Nukualofa, Tonga Tabu."
It would take too long to tell here the history of
the rending of the Church in Tonga; and perhaps
the time has hardly yet come when the whole course
of events, which wrought woful damage in one of the
fairest fields of Christian enterprise, can be perfectly
understood and faithfully recorded. That two
252 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
churches should have been set up instead of one,
in the same group, was a result to be lamented;
but the bitterness of strife and the persecuting
violence which attended the division were beyond
measure deplorable. This unhappy state of things
had made Mr. Calvert the more anxious to visit the
South Seas. The relation of his own mission to that
in the Friendly Islands had always been very in-
timate, and he enjoyed, and greatly valued, the
friendship of the Tongan king. Being well known
by both parties, and having never committed himself
to the position of either, he cherished a kindly hope
that he might be able to mediate between them.
After he had been a week on the ground, he
" Matters here are extremely bad, and seriously dif-
ficult. The separation is a fully accomplished fact.
The rent is very great and wide ; party spirit runs
high. Still the Lord reigneth ; and I trust, by His
blessing, that I shall be of service in some ways. . . .
In this very trying position the Lord strengthens
and blesses me. I trust Him, and cast my care
upon Him, and pray for His guidance and prospering
blessing. I am very grateful for His presence, and
for the openings for useful intercourse He gives me
with persons of varied views. But, alas ! both sides
seem determined to have and pursue their own way.
THE LATER TEARS. 253
I do my utmost in trying to prevail upon them to
act with moderation."
Later on he writes :
" Were I a younger man, I should consider
seriously whether there was not a call here for me ;
but I am quite sure that, at my age, I ought not
to undertake a task like this."
This was no mere cheap sentiment. Conversations
with him both before and after his voyage proved
how this idea had got hold of him, and how warmly
he desired the opportunity, at the cost of any self-
sacrifice, of at least mitigating the evils which had
come to pass. After spending exactly a month in
the Islands he left, on August 26th, to complete his
visit to Fiji.
" Here I close my visit to Tonga, to which I came
with a single purpose of trying to do good. While
here I have been very fully employed, and have had
much that was not pleasant. I have mixed freely
with all, and tried hard to bring about good-will,
freedom, and love. All have shown me respect ; and
kindness I have had from many."
It was with a sense of most welcome relief that he
turned his face once more to the peaceful scenes of
his own beloved Fiji, which he reached two days
later, going on to Ovalau, where he passed a very
254 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
busy and happy week at Levuka. He found here a
letter awaiting him from the acting Governor, who
had been obliged to go to Samoa. The Colonial
Secretary was deputed by him to further Mr. Calvert's
plans in every way, and the small Government
steamer was coaled and got ready for his use.
" September 5th. After I had engaged to preach
twice in English, the natives and half-castes appealed
to me not to neglect them ; and I felt compelled to
meet them for a short service at Levuka at 9 A.M.,
and at Vangandathi at 4 P.M. At 1 1 and 7 o'clock I
preached in the excellent stone chapel to a very
good and full congregation in English. After the
evening service I administered the Sacrament of the
Lord's Supper. After all was over I was not at all
weary. I very much enjoyed the services, and all
were kind and hearty."
" 9th. Went to Moturiki, landing where the
attack was made upon me in 1854. Had school
feasts, and examinations ; and slept."
From the beach where he passed through deadly
peril in 1854 he gathered twelve small shells as a
memorial. On the next day he went to Mbau, and
saw much to delight him, though his old friend
Thakombau was no more. In the old dark days he
had, by his intercession, gained from the king the
life of a widow, named Bongithewa, who was about
THE LATER YEARS. 255
to be strangled at the death of her husband, a Mbau
chief. It was the first life he had thus rescued ; and
now he had the joy of meeting the widow once more,
and found that, for many years, she had fulfilled a
good and useful Christian course. He crossed over
to Viwa, where the mission press was still placed,
as he wanted a paper he had written about Tonga to
" I helped Mr. Small to set up my paper on the
Friendly Islands. I wondered that I took so readily
to picking up the type. By both sticking close to
work we got through."
" 26th. Navuloa. The prayer-meeting at 7 o'clock.
At 9.30 I preached to the students from Acts xvi. 9,
10, and felt very happy in my work quite at home
deeming it a great privilege and gracious opportunity
to address so many who were likely to take a promi-
nent part in God's work in Fiji in the future. In
the afternoon Mr. Lindsay preached. In the evening
we had a prayer-meeting, and I conducted a Sacra-
mental service, and gave an address to the students
and others who were present. I was moved by the
prayer of the native minister, who thanked God that
they, who had heard of me from their fathers, with
whom I had lived and laboured, were now surprised
and delighted to see me. He went on praying,
beseeching the Lord to have a watchful eye and
256 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
care over me in the future. I greatly enjoyed my
three days' visit to this grand training institution."
" 27th. Mr. Lindsay took me over to Viwa in his
boat. Here I resided from 1848 to 1855 seven
years. Here John Hunt, John Polglase, and Joel
Bulu are buried. The printing plant is excellent,
and was given by the Tomblesons, of Barton-on-
Humber, at my request."
" 30th. Left Suva at midnight in the Arawata"
" October 2nd. Saturday. We are now five hun-
dred miles from Fiji, where I have been thirty-eight
days. All the time I was fully employed, and equal to
all the demands made upon me. I am very thankful
to the Lord for all the help and gracious influences
granted me. I have been much gratified in finding
how great and how real God's work has been and is
throughout Fiji ; and I have good reason to believe
that my visit will, by God's blessing, be of service in
various ways. By remaining longer, and risking the
hot months, I do not see that I could do much
" 3rd. Sunday. I rose early, and found it profit-
able. The Bishop of Nelson had to keep his bed
most of the day. I took the service, by his request,
at 1 1 o'clock, on deck. We could not have any sing-
ing. I read the 103rd Psalm, prayed, and preached,
and was very happy in the service. The Bishop
thanked me much, he having heard all down below."
THE LATER TEARS. 257
" 6th. Auckland, New Zealand. After a smooth
run from Russell, where we called yesterday, and
where Bishop Suter and I spent 'a pleasant day with
a dear old lady, Mrs. Ford, a widow of my own age,
who ministers comfort to many of all denominations.
Mr. Philip H. Mason met me on board at 7.30 A.M.,
and took me over in a little steamer to his new
house at Devonport. With them I am to abide
until the 12th, when we leave for Honolulu. Im-
mediately on my arrival I had a visit from a young
minister from the principal chapel in Auckland, to
engage me to speak or lecture on Monday night.
Soon after breakfast I had a minister from each of
the two other Circuits, asking for a service each on
" 7th. To-day I was driven out to Three Kings,
about three miles, where the Rev. Alexander Reed
has twelve New Zealanders and five young English-
men in training for our work. The Lord blessed me
greatly while addressing first the English, and then
the natives, and in prayer with all together.
" I went to the top of Mount Eden, and had an
extensive and splendid view all around, which much
surprised me. . . . Spoke at the Home Missionary
Meeting at Devonport."
" 10th. Preached in the morning at Devonport,
and in the evening at Grafton Road. The congrega-
tions were good, and the Lord blessed us. After the
258 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
evening service I called in at a large theatre, where
special services are held by clergymen and others,
and said a few words on my way back to Devonport."
" llth. Went to the weekly meeting of ministers
in the vestry of Spurgeon's Tabernacle. He showed
me over the splendid structure, where he has a very
large congregation. At 7.30 we had a Missionary
Meeting in King Street Chapel, where we had a good
company. I spoke for an hour. During the day I
had a very kind letter from my fellow-passenger, the
Bishop of Nelson, dated from the ' Scene of the
Eruption.' He is a most amiable man, and we got on
remarkably well together. My six days in Auckland
were most enjoyable. All were exceedingly kind to
me. At the ministers' meeting all were most affec-
tionate, and listened well to a few words which I said
at their request. They prayed very earnestly for
me on my voyage, and also in the hereafter."
" I2th. Left Auckland in the Mariposa at 5 P.M."
" I3th. Crossed the meridian of Greenwich, and,
in order to keep our week and Sabbath right, we
had to have two Wednesdays eight days in the
week. The mail steamer which we meet between
Auckland and Samoa has to lose a day, and have only
six days in the week. One man who came on board
at Samoa, having crossed and recrossed the meridian,
had four Sabbaths in nine days."
" nth. I had a good congregation at 8 P.M. The
THE LATER TEARS. 259
Lord greatly blessed and helped me to deliver His
saving truth in a straightforward and honest way;
for which I had hearty thanks and pleasant looks."
" 23rd. At 10.30 this forenoon we were alongside
the wharf at Honolulu, 3,833 miles from Auckland.
We left again at 6.30 for San Francisco, 2,092 miles
" 30th. San Francisco at 9 A.M. Seven days from
Honolulu. The Custom House officer said I had an
honest face, and he was very lenient, and passed my
things very easily. I soon found the Methodist
Book Koom, and the editor of the Christian Advocate,
with whom I had a good chat ; and then went to see
something of this immense city."
" 31st. I heard two sermons from the Rev. Dr.
Izer, and assisted him with the communion after the
morning service. He offered me his pulpit for the
evening, but I judged he was himself specially pre-
pared, and had been announced. I found my notion
was correct, when I heard him at night. In the
afternoon I heard General Howard who lost his
right arm in the war at the Young Men's Christian
Association. It was a fine gathering. I was asked
to lead in prayer ; and was constrained afterwards to
speak for a few minutes, and had a very good hearing."
" November 1st. Rose quite refreshed at 6, very
grateful for my rest of yesterday, and for the past
night. At 7.15, just off to breakfast, and to prepare
260 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
for my long journey of 3,461 miles, such as I never
had before, and never shall have again."
The notes of the great railway journey record
experiences that have been frequently described by
others. He says, after his first night in a sleeping-
car, that he was tossed about as much as at sea, and
did not sleep well. He is astonished at the immense
" ferry boat," which takes the whole train across to
Benicia. He sees the sights of Salt Lake City ; un-
expectedly finds there people with whom he has
links of acquaintance ; and delights most of all in
taking part in a Methodist prayer-meeting. He is
surprised and thankful that he has accomplished
one-third of the journey without suffering from the
cold. The grand scenery over Marshall Pass, and
afterwards, rouses him to admiring enthusiasm. He
rejoices greatly at Denver " to be at the end of the
narrow, shaky gauge, which robbed me of one night's
sleep though I had to pay 16s. a night for the
accommodation." He wakes in time to see the
crossing of the Mississippi, and on the afternoon
of Sunday, November 7th, reaches Chicago.
" Before reaching Chicago, a few of us in the car
met. I read Romans xii. We sang, ' Take the
Name of Jesus with you,' and about a dozen other
hymns, among them ' The Sweet By-and-by,' which
reminded me of our singing it, with my good wife,
THE LATER YEARS. 261
in the Transvaal plains, as we left Potchefstroom in
"Arrived at the Grand Pacific Hotel at 3.30.
Went in search of a Methodist Episcopal church.
Soon found the Eev. Dr. Bolton in his study at the
church. At 6 went to a prayer-meeting there ; and
at 6.30 Dr. Bolton addressed young men on Purpose :
' Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not
defile himself with the portion of the king's meat,
nor with the wine which he drank.' After the
service, at Dr. Bolton's request, many testified as
to their purpose I among the rest."
Having met the ministers at their weekly meeting
on the Monday morning, he went on to Niagara,
where he " spent eight hours among those extra-
ordinary Falls, going over the bridge into Canada,
and back, and left for New York at 3.10."
Soon after reaching New York, he sought out
Dr. McCabe, drawn to him by his enthusiasm in
the office of Junior Secretary of Missions. Of
course, Mr. Calvert was at once requested to tell
about the Fiji mission, and found, when he had
done, that all he had said had been reported by
" the three young lady clerks." Dr. McCabe
pressed him to remain six months in America, to
take part in missionary conventions and meetings.
This was impossible ; but he consented to attend a
262 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
convention then being held at Waterbury, and then
to join Dr. McCabe in meetings, which would have
taken him through Boston, and afterwards to Wash-
ington. He took part in several meetings at Water-
bury; and the minister there strongly importuned
him to remain over the Sunday to help him in his
work. It was a very great disappointment to Mr.
Calvert to be deprived of his only chance of seeing
Boston and Washington ; but as Dr. McCabe set
him free from his engagements, he yielded, and
preached on the Sunday morning, and gave a mis-
sionary address in the evening. The next morning
he visited the great watch-making works, and re-
turned to New York, where he was very happy in
the hospitable home of Mr. Anderson Fowler, the
son-in-law of the Rev. William Arthur.
" I enjoyed some services in New York, and inter-
views with editors, and learned doctors, and bishops,
and laymen, and women who labour in the Gospel.
It was delightful to stay a few days in the great
On Saturday, November 20th, he left on the
voyage home, and landed at Liverpool on the 28th,
just one hundred and eighty-four days since he
started from London. Out of this time he had spent
a month in Tonga, nearly six weeks in Fiji, and ten
days in New York. The rest of the time was
THE LATER YEARS. 263
occupied in almost continuous travel, entirely round
the world. Surely a wonderful achievement for a
man in his seventy-fourth year.
On his return his services were in great request, and
he was soon actively employed again, being eagerly
welcomed everywhere on Missionary and Bible Society
platforms. When the Missionary Anniversary was
held in the following May his presence was a marked
feature ; and at the adjourned meeting, in City Eoad
Chapel, he gave an account of the condition of his
beloved Fiji, as he had lately seen it, and of the results
of the work in which, almost from its very beginning,
he had taken a large part. It is interesting to note
how the troubles and the dangers of the early days
of that wonderful history are, now that he thus scans
the whole, lost in the brightness of present success.
The speech is eminently characteristic.
" I am deeply grateful to Almighty God for having
guided me to foreign mission service, and especially
that He sent me to Fiji, and for the help and bless-
ing and success He has granted to us.
" We had no night of toil. God was with us
from the beginning, and all along, even to the
present time, and He has ever confirmed His word
with signs following. Multitudes have been in the
past and, thank God, still are now convinced of
sin by the Word and Spirit of God. They bitterly
264 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
repented of their misdoings and transgressions,
sought mercy and forgiveness with all earnestness
and perseverance; and when they were saved by
grace, through faith in Jesus, many were remarkably
clear in their enjoyment of the Divine favour, and
rejoiced greatly in their Saviour and Lord. These
converts were whole-hearted, and very true and
faithful. Their thorough change of heart, wrought
by the Holy Spirit, was manifest to all. They
became living epistles, read and known by all. It
is a grand thing anywhere to have persons pardoned,
renewed, sanctified, made new creatures in Christ
Jesus; old things passed away, and all things
become new! This personal Christian experience
told amazingly upon the dark and simple-minded
Fijians and it tells everywhere and many felt
convinced that the religion of Christ was a real power
and excellence, and greatly to be desired.
" And as soon as any were converted, and gained
spiritual life in their souls, they were very earnest in
prayer and direct effort for the salvation of others.
Baptised with the Holy Spirit, they at once began to
speak as the Spirit gave them utterance. We had
several extensive and blessed revivals, such as have
been in many parts of the world since the Spirit
was poured out on the day of Pentecost. These
showers of blessing told much upon our work. And
a grand work of God, exceeding the utmost hopes of
THE LATER YEARS. 265
the most sanguine, has been wrought upon that long-
neglected and deeply degraded cannibal race. This
work is so real, deep, abiding, and continued, that
those who witness it cannot gainsay the good done,
but cheerfully and heartily confess that God has really
done great things. Miss Gordon-Cummings, a
member of the Church of England, resided two years
in Fiji, and thoroughly examined the work. She gives
the strongest testimony in favour of the Mission. And
Baron de Hubner, a German scientist and Koman
Catholic, who has been three times round the world
with his eyes open, and very observant, said a mar-
vellous change had been wrought, which no honest
man could deny; and he reverently ascribed the
blessed work on the hearts and lives of multitudes
to the work of the Holy Spirit alone.
"The glorious Gospel of the blessed God, pro-
claimed in a straightforward and earnest way, has
done its old work. The Spirit accompanied the
truth with His convincing and saving power, and
the results on a grand scale are extraordinary.
Abominable and degrading superstitions are re-
moved. Tens of thousands of saved Fijians are
now with their Saviour, numbered with John Hunt,
Richard Burdsall Lyth, Joeli Bulu the Tongan, my
good wife, and all God's saints in glory everlasting.
Some of these bore well fierce persecutions, severe
trials, the loss of all things, and martyrdom. Now
266 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
marriage is sacred, the Sabbath sacredly kept, family
worship regularly conducted, schools everywhere es-
tablished, law and good government firmly laid, and
spiritual Churches formed and prosperous.
" The language has been reduced to written form,
and made one, doing away with the plague of many
dialects. An excellent grammar and dictionaries
have been printed one edition at the mission press
in Fiji, and one in England. Two editions of the
New Testament, and part of the Old, with innumer-
able portions of the Scriptures, were also printed
in Fiji; and 8,050 copies of the Bible, in two
editions, and over 50,000 of the New Testament, have
been printed and bound by the British and Foreign
Bible Society, and these have been supplied to, and
purchased by, the converts. Immense numbers of
Catechisms, with Scripture proofs, a large edition of
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, and three editions of an
invaluable System of Christian Theology, prepared
by the eminent John Hunt, when his mind and
heart were in their ripest condition, and his know-
ledge of the language was well matured, have been,
and are, widely circulated, and very profitably used.
"From the beginning, God gave just the right
stamp of men, with the needed qualifications, to
commence and carry on the work. A printer,
doctor, teacher, builder, translator, a man specially
qualified to prepare an admirable grammar and
THE LATER YEARS. 267
dictionaries all hard-working men, who stuck to it
all day long and every day wherever they were. It
was their meat and drink to do the will of Him that
sent them. They adapted themselves to-the climate,
and to the utter degradation and abominations
which prevailed everywhere ; and all cheerfully
roughed it. The work from the beginning has been
mainly done by native teachers and preachers, of
whom there are now 2,958.
"After an absence of twenty-one years, I have just
had the opportunity and privilege of a visit to the
place where the best years of my life were spent.
Commerce I found sadly depressed, and the manu-
facture of sugar not remunerative ; and I was sorry
to learn that, beyond the somewhat heavy taxes,
the chiefs, who occupy positions under the English
Government, are still allowed to exact food, and
money, and property from the people. But my
heart was greatly gladdened by the excellent state
of God's work throughout the Group. I rejoiced to
find that, in one Circuit, 500 persons had during the
year asked to be allowed to meet in class, desiring
to flee from the wrath to come, and gain salvation.
New conversions were taking place, and God's work
was deepened in the hearts of His people. Great
steadfastness, earnestness, and constancy were mani-
fest. The devoted chairman, the Rev. F. Langham,
and his excellent wife, who have been twenty-eight
268 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
years hard at work, are likely to serve faithfully for
years to come. In his Circuit, in a population, all
told, of 11,508 persons, 98^ per cent, attend our
worship ; and throughout Fiji, 90 per cent, of all
worship with us. So that Fiji is a nation of Metho-
dists. I was greatly comforted by the excellent
spirit and zeal of the young missionaries from the
Colonies, who have entered into our labours, and
are earnestly carrying on the work.
" I was glad that special attention is given to the
education and training of native agents, on whom so
much depends in this extensive work, considerable
numbers of whom are constantly required. In-
stitutions for this important branch of our service
are diligently worked by each missionary in every
Circuit, and also by the native ministers, and by
some catechists in the sections of Circuits of which
they have charge. The most promising of these
men, thus prepared for the work, so far as they can
be spared, are sent for some years to the District
Institution, over which are placed a missionary and
a native minister, who are best qualified for, and
adapted to, this special service. There are 109 fine,
whole-hearted men of various ages, some of whom
have wives, who are taught and trained for the work
as teachers and preachers. I had the honour and
enjoyment of giving prizes at the close of the
session, and was pleased that some of the wives also
THE LATER TEARS. 269
gained prizes for good conduct, and for keeping
their families, and houses, and husbands in good
order. The Bishop of Nelson, New Zealand, was
present, and gave valuable counsel to the men and
women. He was surprised and gratified ; as he was
also with the late Thakombau's magnificent chapel,
and our work, at Mbau. In his astonishment and
rejoicing with us, he exclaimed, ' And all this
without accessories ! ' Mr. Langham helped the
catholic-spirited Bishop on his way, taking him
from Navuloa to Mbau, and sending him to Ovalau,
twenty-five miles, in the mission boat, pulled by
students. I voyaged with him from Fiji to Auck-
land. I heard with great satisfaction one of the
students rightly divide the Word of Truth, which
he explained and applied. I was pleased with the
simple and cheap dresses of the students and their
wives, and with their entire spirit and deportment.
They are very true, and wholly devoted to Christ
and His cause, ready to go forth and brave the
terrible hardships and exposures of New Guinea,
where some of them have perished in the work;
but others are baptised for the dead, and cheerfully
ready to fill their places. There were also two
foreign students from the island of Eotumah, three
hundred miles to the north of Fiji. These men, by
gaining a knowledge of the Fijian language, gain the
great advantage of our Bible, and all our other books.
270 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
" What has been wrought in Fiji is of the utmost
intrinsic value on the behalf of every saved one ;
but the work there is extremely important as a
specimen ; and it affords hope and encouragement
to pray, and work, and give for the salvation of the
vast populations of all China, all India, all Africa,
Russia, and the whole world. Christ tasted death
for every man for every man in the whole world
' Christ has for all a ransom paid,
For all a full atonement made.'
And ' to Him every knee shall bow, and every
tongue confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God
the Father.' ' He will put down all rule, and all
authority and power. For He must reign, till He
hath put all enemies under His feet.'
" The one special need is power from on high ; and
this we have in its fulness and richness. We live
in the last time, in the glorious dispensation of the
Spirit, when He is working in our hearts, and in our
country, and among the nations, beyond what was
realised in any age, hastening the latter days' glory,
when all shall know Him and His power to save, and
when Christ's kingdom shall be established in all
the earth. When the Spirit descends upon the
Churches, upon preachers and hearers, the Word will
be proclaimed with new power, the pious will pray
in the Holy Ghost ; cheerful workers of the right
stamp, and liberal givers will abound. The rich
THE LATER YEARS. 271
will be very generous under His constraining power,
and the poor will devise liberal things to the utmost
of their means. The busy and fully employed will
be ingenious, and find time and opportunity for
work in Christ's service. The love of Christ will
assuredly constrain them to do something. When
the Spirit works freely and fully in the soul every
power will be enlisted to render its quota in the
blessed service of Christ. Glorious days are ahead !
The Lord hasten them ! ' Gold shall be brought ' ;
not squeezed out of the people, nor parted with
reluctantly, but voluntarily and cheerfully sur-
rendered for Christ's sake. The heart shall be en-
larged. The abundance of the sea shall be converted
to God, and the forces of the Gentiles shall come to
Him. The wilderness shall be a fruitful field, ' and
the fruitful field shall be counted for a forest.' ' A
little one shall become a thousand, and a small one
a strong nation ' ; and the Lord ' will hasten it in
His time.' And there shall be 'great voices in
heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are
become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ ;
and He shall reign for ever and ever.' "
At the Missionary Lovefeast held in connection
with the Anniversary he presided, as was most
fitting. In such a gathering for such a purpose all
rejoiced to see him at their head ; for, in the work
272 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
of the Gospel, who of them had such an experience
to rehearse ? He stood there amongst the people
in the exceeding beauty of his strong old age, no
carpet knight, but a faithful servant of the Lord
Jesus, having a wonderful history of service, yet
saying no word of anything he had done, but
rejoicing to tell how the grace of God had saved
him, and, before his eyes, had mightily saved multi-
tudes from darkness and death. Year by year, as
long as he lived, the presidence of James Calvert at
the Missionary Lovefeast was a standing arrange-
ment in the proceedings of the May Anniversary.
After his last voyage Mr. Calvert spent two years
at Sevenoaks, where also his aid was freely given in
helping all good work. But here, as elsewhere, home
meant for him not so much an abiding rest, as a
centre from which he journeyed in all directions in
his customary public service.
The Missionary Conference held in London in
1888 gave him great delight. In that memorable
assembly of representatives of Christian missions in
all parts of the world he was sought out by many,
who had long known his name as connected with the
great work in Fiji ; while he, on his part, also sought
out others, men of renown in the service of the
Gospel, with greater eagerness than any tuft-hunter
anxiously striving to win the notice of titled nobles.
It delighted him exceedingly to meet here once
THE LATER TEARS. 273
more his fellow-traveller, the Bishop of Nelson. In
several of the important discussions which were held
he took part: and on several difficult questions he
spoke with the confidence and authority of an ample
experience. To the much-debated inquiry whether
missionaries, who had not had a medical train-
ing, should prescribe, he answered with an unhesi-
tating yes, and was prepared to give abundant
evidence in support of his answer. Then there was
the problem, on which exactly opposite opinions
were held, and supported by great argumentative
zeal, should polygamists be admitted to Church
membership ? Here he maintained a decisive and
uncompromising negative, and declared that the
whole history of Christian triumph in Fiji, where
this question had to be faced in its worst form,
made, to him, any alternative position impossible.
In the course of the Conference, he read a paper
giving a sketch of the history of Christianity in the
Fiji Islands. It was all through a fervid expression
of exultant faith faith uttering itself in praise.
In his own simple, strong, direct fashion, he gave
witness that, from first to last, the horrible evils
which cursed the people had been dealt with only by
the Gospel preached and lived amongst them, at first
by a few foreigners, " none of them extraordinary or
great, but suitable, well adapted, ready to rough it
and go on heartily with every branch of the work
274 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
that had to be done ; making little of difficulties,
dangers, and afflictions, but the best of everything
and every one " ; and then by an ever-growing com-
pany of converts from among the people themselves.
At the time he was speaking, the number of white
missionaries was nine; of native preachers, three
thousand and five, fifty-six of whom were fully set
apart for the work of the ministry. Referring to the
Jubilee celebrated three years before, he said :
" Fifty years before there was not a Christian in
all Fiji ; then, not an avowed heathen left ! Canni-
balism has, for some years past, been wholly extinct ;
and other immemorial customs of horrible cruelty
and barbarism have disappeared." The listening
assembly was deeply moved, and responded with warm
thanksgiving as the old missionary, who had seen
this work of Divine grace, exclaimed, " Behold ! what
hath God wrought ! "
In February 1889 Mr. Calvert married the
widow of his friend, the late Rev. Dr. Andrew Kessen,
and hereby gained for his latter days not only a
very congenial companionship, but all the comfort
and help which the most solicitous and devoted
affection could secure.
His home was now at Hastings, where, though his
life was passed in quiet peacefulness, and its activities
were limited by occasional weakness, he was by
no means an idle man, but was always and fully
THE LATER YEARS. 275
employed. It was seldom that he had not on hand
some commission to fulfil for Fiji, and, as far as his
strength permitted, he continued to preach, and to
speak on behalf of missions and of the Bible
His love of this great Christian institution was
very strong ; and he lost no opportunity of asserting
its claims, and working for its interests. Through-
out all his course he had received from it the
greatest consideration and most generous help.
When the committee, with kindly expressions of
admiring respect, added his name to their list of
Honorary Life Governors, he rejoiced greatly in the
He cheerfully gave his help to the ministers in
Hastings, as freely to those of other Churches as in
his own. In his genial presence, and listening to his
frank words of faith and love, Christians were drawn
together, and learned to hold their Church distinc-
tions without bigotry or exclusiveness.
His residence at Hastings brought to him the
great pleasure of intercourse with many friends who
resorted thither. There were few men who had
more friends ; and to the last he formed new and
close attachments ; but the old ties were never
broken. " I never," he said in those days, " let
a friend slip." There are very many, in many lands,
who count the friendship of James Calvert among
276 JAMES CALVEET OF FIJI.
the best things of their life ; and all can bear
witness that his love was as true as it was tender.
In the autumn of 1890 a seventh edition of the
Fijian New Testament was printed ; and in the
careful revision and reading of proofs he found full
and always welcome employment. About the same
time he also carried through the press a Hymn-book,
Catechisms, and a Book of Offices, all in the Fijian
In March 1891 he conducted the great Lovefeast
at the Centenary Commemoration of the death
of Wesley, in the old City Eoad Chapel, which was
crowded, so that many stood during the whole
service. And a memorable service it was, with its
glowing concert of Christian witness, whereby those
who told of their own knowledge of the saving power
of God strengthened and encouraged one another
in the great enterprise of bringing the world to
Christ. The very presence of the beloved elder who
led the meeting, his face radiant with the joy of the
Lord, rebuked unfaithfulness and doubt, and kindled
In the following May he conducted the opening
service of the new West Hill Chapel at Hastings,
one of the foundation-stones of which he had laid
the year before. He preached from the text, " I will
give myself unto prayer." This place of worship,
the building of which he very liberally aided, has
THE LATER TEARS. 277
since been styled the Calvert Memorial Chapel ; and
truly the name of this saint is as well worthy of such
application as that of many a saint holding his title
from a Pope's patent. In this pulpit also he
preached his last sermon.
He had not intended to be at the Conference this
year, but, being elected by his District as a repre-
sentative, he went to Nottingham, and greatly
enjoyed the Conference and all its religious and
social accompaniments, attending nearly every
session, and taking great interest in the proceedings.
He conducted the Conference Lovefeast, and went
from it to the great Temperance Meeting, at which
a testimonial was presented to the Rev. Charles
Garrett. In the temperance question he took a lively
interest. Early in his mission-life he became a
total abstainer, and always maintained that he owed
his strength for long-protracted service very largely
to this decision. He found also that, by taking a
firm and unquestionable position in this matter, he
gained great power in helping the Fijian Christians
to escape from the temptations of their native grog
the yanggona and from the fatal perils of the strong
spirits brought into the islands by white merchants.
On leaving Fiji the first time, he further determined
to give up smoking. It was a very old habit, and
not easy to break. But being convinced that he
ought to put an end to the indulgence, he did it
278 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
sharply and decisively. He often afterwards de-
clared his thankful satisfaction with the determination
then carried out, and affirmed that it was better for
him than if he had received a thousand pounds.
In September he had an attack of influenza, which
seriously broke his strength ; and a medical exami-
nation resulted in his being forbidden to do any
public work. It was a great trouble to him to be
obliged to cancel a number of engagements to
attend meetings in different parts of the country :
but he felt it to be inevitable. After his many
years of incessant activity, he faced the truth that his
public work was done, not only with quiet submis-
sion, but with an altogether happy resting in the will
of Him whom he so long had served.
While he was still suffering, he was greatly shocked
by the news that the Rev. Dr. James, who had been
his fellow-student fifty-four years ago, had died very
suddenly. He wrote to an old friend :
" For some time I have desired to write to you, as
I have been a good deal upset in health for some
weeks. When staying at Sevenoaks I had indigestion,
and took cold and perhaps I had influenza. My
heart, from which I suffered a good deal at Torquay,
and again three years ago, has now once more troubled
me seriously ; and Dr. James' death was a great shock
THE LATER TEARS. 279
" But I have had the utmost tenderness, and care,
and attention, and am greatly relieved. I have now
good hope that I shall soon be quite myself again.
But I must be quiet. I have called off all my
engagements for the Bible Society and Missions,
and shall not attempt any public service. I feel it
to be my absolute duty to rest ; and I think I may
conscientiously take rest as my privilege and, shall
I say ? due.
" I am soon sending off to Fiji 730 Bibles, and
2,500 each of Hymns, Catechisms, and Book of
Offices, with large supplies of English Tracts from
Drummond, and the Religious Tract Society.
" Please pray for me. I am not at all anxious,
but leave myself wholly in my loving Saviour's
care. The Lord, who has dealt so bountifully with
me in all the past, is and will be most gracious
After this he recovered strength wonderfully, and
entered on 1892 with a hope that he would yet be
able to work again. On New Year's day he called on
friends, and received visits, with all his old genial
warmth, and almost youthful vivacity. But, perhaps,
the crowning delight of the season was the arrival of
another commission for Bibles and books for Fiji
and Rotumah. The fulfilling of this joined him to
the active past ; and, in the joyful alacrity of the
280 JAMES CAL VERT OF FIJI.
service, it seemed as though some of the energy of
the past came back to him.
On the first Sunday in January he completed his
seventy-ninth year. In the morning he attended
public worship, and in the afternoon the old Methodist
service of the Renewal of the Covenant with Grod, in
connection with which he assisted in the administra-
tion of the Lord's Supper.
Then followed two months of apparently good
health, and a happy returning to his customary ways
of life. Infirm, sick, and poor people thankfully
welcomed his ministration of Christian comfort and
hope, and generously practical sympathy. Amongst
those who delighted in these visits were several aged
andinvalid clergymen, and members of other Churches,
amongst whom he was greatly beloved. All claimed
him as their own ; and very joyfully he acknowledged
the claim. He was a conspicuous and well-known
figure in the town of Hastings. His tall, erect, and
largely built form, his brisk walk, his cheery look
and laugh, the quick vitality of every gesture, seemed
to belong to a far younger man than did the venerable
whiteness of head and beard. As he passed along
he received many greetings from many people. The
fishermen and the railway servants, the cabmen and
the chairmen, knew him as the messenger to them
of a better life, and saluted him as their friend. His
look of hale manliness was, perhaps, never more
THE LATER TEARS. 281
striking than in these days. He laughed heartily
when some dear Australian friends told him that he
was handsomer than ever ; and, as far as his appear-
ance went, there really seemed nothing impossible
in the way of his accepting their warm invitation to
visit them again. He was much moved when they
said, " When the name of James Calvert is mentioned
at a public meeting in Australia, as it often is, we all
rise to our feet." To all congratulations on his good
health he would answer that he had been spared to
do more Bible work for Fiji.
At the service held at Robertson Street Church, as
a memorial of the great preacher, Spurgeon, lately
deceased, Mr. Calvert was present ; and many re-
marked upon his aspect of vigour, and the full, clear
voice with which he spoke the words of benediction
as the service ended. That act of speaking peace
and blessing in the name of God was the last act of
his public life. Nor could there have been devised
a close more beautifully befitting his long course of
faithful ministry. It was in strongly marked contrast
with the scenes of his earlier career, with their hard,
rough toil, and long journeyings, and sickness and
pain, and perils by land and by sea ; but in the faith
and the aim of the life years had made no change.
All had been given to the dispensing of the Divine
peace and blessing. And now, in a harboured calm
of quiet waiting, and in the venerable loveliness of a
282 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
saintly old age, out of the fulness of a heart satisfied
with the perfect peace, his lips uttered the Gospel
benediction of grace, and love, and fellowship with
God. That benediction gathered together and ex-
pressed his whole trust and his whole life.
On the last Sunday in February he went alone to
join in the worship at the Central Chapel, Mrs.
Calvert being laid aside by sickness. On the Tues-
day following she was able to leave her room, to his
great delight, and sat with him at his study fireside.
It had always been a very characteristic habit of his
to forecast his future work, and plan it out with all
the exact arrangement of a timetable. On the next
evening, as they sat again together, he, holding his
wife's hand, talked about two full years of busy
employment, for another edition of the Fijian Bible
was called for ; and it had been just decided that the
translation should undergo another careful revision.
He had everything in readiness to start with this
work the next day, and looked forward to it with
great joy, pointing out to his wife wherein it would
be possible for her to help him. He spoke much of
the past, tracing, with devout thankfulness, the lead-
ing of the Lord's hand in his eventful history. He
always made it a rule to keep his correspondence
completed up to date. Finding one more letter was
left to be written, he considered for a moment
whether he should not leave it till the morrow, but
284 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
decided to write it at once. And thus it was that, for
the last time, his much-used pen was taken in hand,
in writing to the widow of the Rev. T. W. Meller,
under whose superintendence he had done his first
work in preparing the Fijian Bible for the press,
thirty-six years before. A portion of this last letter
is here reproduced in facsimile.
And so the calm, happy day of home rest and
home love passed on ; and when night came, as was
his wont, he read to his wife out of the Word ; and
in his reading that night was this : " For I am al-
ready being offered, and the time of my departure is
come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished
the course, I have kept the faith : henceforth there
is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which
the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that
day ; and not to me only, but unto them also that
love His appearing."
Before the next day broke apoplexy came upon
him as he slept ; and his wife, roused by his heavy
breathing, found him insensible. The doctor, who
lived close by, . came immediately. Before his
arrival Mr. Calvert had recovered consciousness, and
inquired after some of the doctor's patients in whom
he was interested. While his heart was being
examined, he said, " I have had a hard life, doctor.''
Throughout this and the following day he lay pros-
trate, and, according to strict orders, was kept in
THE LATER YEARS. 285
perfect quietness. Then, on the Friday night, he
became restless, and his mind wandered, but it
wandered only one way. For hours he was uncon-
sciously busy, turning over and correcting proof-
sheets of the Fijian Bible. The hushed days passed,
and the Sunday found him very feeble, but clear in
mind. In the afternoon he lay, with closed eyes,
holding his wife's hand, and answering warmly to
words of Divine promise, which she quoted, and
verses of hymns, correcting her when one quotation
was not exact. " It is all right," he said, " the will
of the Lord is best the very best."
Early on Monday morning, they who lovingly
tended him knew, and he also knew, that the end
was near. He spoke brightly to his kind medical
attendant, and called for his dear ones, his wife,
daughter, and youngest son, and very tenderly bade
each of them a last farewell. Afterwards he lay
calmly awaiting his release. Once or twice during
the afternoon loving words fell from his lips, and
then came unbroken silence, passing into peaceful
sleep. Before another day broke he was " with
Christ : "March 8th, 1892.
A funeral service was held in the Central Wesleyan
Chapel, Hastings, in which, besides the members of
the family, a large number of friends took part, and
amongst them many ministers. It was much noted
that, in all the deep solemnity of the service, there
286 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
was such a light of hope, and such assurance of a
life's work well done, that no gloom could settle
there. An address was given by the Kev. Joseph
Nettleton, one of the band of young missionaries
who went out in 1860, when Mr. and Mrs. Calvert
returned to Fiji for their second term of service.
He knew the departed saint well, and had worked
beside him on the field of his life's chief labours.
His tribute to his memory was full of reverent love,
and was peculiarly impressive as given by one who
had been an eye-witness of the wonderful results of
his faithful devotion. And by the speaker there
was brought the testimony of another saint of God,
and hero of the mission, also gone to his rest and
reward Joel Bulu, the old Tongan minister, who
had given his life to Fiji, and had watched the
whole history of the Gospel in the islands from its
beginning. "I saw," said he, at Lakemba, in 1868,
" those two men land, with pale faces and weak
voices. They could not wield the club like we can.
Their wives were not strong like our women. But
what changes have they wrought on this island !
Instead of widow-strangling and cannibalism we
have a Christian chief ruling over a Christian people.
Instead of heathen temples we have Christian
churches; and instead of the old mythologies we
have the Word of God in our own tongue, and we
and our children can read it. Instead of heathen
THE LATER YEARS. 287
priests we have been educated and ordained as
Christian ministers. Those pale-faced men came
from England ; and if the great queen had sent out
ships of war to fire on us, if we would not give up
widow-strangling and cannibalism, we might have
been blown to pieces ; but we never should have
given up the old customs for cannon-balls. If the
great queen had sent out an army of soldiers to cut
us' down with the drawn sword, we should not have
given up the cannibal oven or widow-strangling for the
sword. ' The sword of the Spirit ' which those two
men wielded has done what neither cannon-ball nor
cold steel could have done. From our killing and
devouring one another it has turned us into Christian
men and women. They not only preached the Word
of God, but they lived it ; and their daily life of
love and self-denial was a gospel which no prejudice
could resist, and no argument could withstand."
The burial was at Torquay. And there, in the
beautiful Barton cemetery, one in death, as in eternal
life, there lie together true yokefellows, who had
together borne the burden and heat of the day
James and Mary Calvert, awaiting the resurrection
of the just.
A memorial sermon was preached at Hastings
by the Kev. John Walton, who had well known
Mr. Calvert and his work in South Africa. He said
288 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
"John Wesley's ideal Methodist preacher was
happily realised in this ardent missionary. Certainly
James Calvert had ' all his wits about him.' A man
of strong common sense, shrewd and practical in his
methods, and fearless in duty, he could adapt him-
self to new and difficult situations. He was a fine-
tempered, loving, and lovable man, tender as a
woman, and soon moved to tears. But he did not
lack the courage of his convictions. Politic he was,
as a missionary among savages must be; but he
never compromised truth or principle ; he always
went straight, and did his duty as his Church
expected him to do with unflinching fidelity. He
was indeed a man of resource, and not soon at his
wits' end. In dealing with the chiefs he displayed
wonderful tact. While he properly recognised their
position, and on all occasions treated them with due
respect, he never flattered, never feared them.
When occasion required, he could be bold as Nathan.
Once and again the cannibal despot had been turned
from his murderous design by the brave expostula-
tions of this herald of the Cross. He stood up
manfully for the oppressed and defenceless people.
Poor women and innocent children, already doomed
to be strangled or clubbed to furnish the cannibal
feast, have been rescued by the courageous inter-
vention of the man of God. By his wise address
and Christian conciliation fearful war was averted
THE LATER YEARS. 289
and peace restored. . . . The love of God in his own
heart was the potent force that brought him into
touch with the poor savages. Had he restricted his
ministry to rebuke and denunciation he would have
failed in his mission. But he delivered his soul
in a full declaration of all the counsel of God ; he
fervently proclaimed the glorious provision Divine
mercy has made for even the vilest and the worst of
men. He urged them to repent and believe the
Gospel, as he himself had done. He besought them,
often with tears.
" To this feature of his ministry we must give due
prominence if we would understand James Calvert.
The poor cannibals came to believe in the man before
they believed in his message. And this method of
his was not a mere device to win Fijians. He followed
it all through his varied ministry, when dealing with
white men, as well as when dealing with black men,
in his native land as well as in Fiji. The warm
personal testimony he bore in his ministrations and
missionary addresses invested both with a gracious
charm. . . . This lovefeast element in James Cal vert's
fine emotional nature was very strong. It made his
face shine ; and he told his story with a spiritual
fascination which touched and thrilled his audience?.
" A few sentences must be added with reference to
James Cal vert's labours in South Africa. He be-
longed to the class of Christian heroes, and held
290 JA.VES CALVERT OF FIJI.
that a missionary should be ready to go anywhere.
He himself thought it not too much to visit Fiji
once and again when the Master called him. In
1872 he, with his devoted wife, placed himself at
the disposal of the missionary committee for service
anywhere. They were sent to join the workers at
the Cape. James Calvert's reputation had preceded
him, and the people expected great things. For
eight years, first in the Orange Free State and then
at the Diamond Fields at Kimberley, he laboured
with much acceptance amongst both colonists and
Kafirs. They were attracted by his personal character,
while his evangelical ministrations and pastoral atten-
tion won their hearts. He was greatly beloved. . . .
The Sunday before their embarkation for England, I
prevailed upon him to preach in the Commemoration
Church at Grahamstown. From the pulpit where
William Shaw had often preached he gave us a
beautiful discourse on ' The Greatest Thing in the
World.' That farewell message from the lips of so
beloved a disciple harmonised with the lofty tradi-
tions of the place, and was made a blessing to
many. . . ."
But little attempt has been made in these pages
to present a portraiture of James Calvert other than
that which is furnished by the record of his life,
and by his own words. The only difficulty in the
THE LATER YEARS. 291
way of any one who, knowing him intimately, would
describe Mr. Calvert's character, is in the fear lest
the attempt to analyse that character should blur
the clear outline of its entire simplicity. Nowhere
would the art which, undertaking to draw a likeness,
glorifies itself by idealising a picture be more mis-
placed. His personality had an irresistible charm ;
but the admiration which would claim for him the
possession of genius, or great natural endowments,
would wholly misrepresent him. He had, however,
this actual greatness, that as those who knew him
longest and best can testify he never affected any-
thing that was not really his. There are some men
whose gifts compel your unwilling admiration, so
that, however you may blame yourselves for it, you
resent the compulsion, while you grudgingly pay the
tribute. One would not like to live near the man
who was not made the happier by knowing and
admiring James Calvert. But, though his character
was quite simple, it was, in no sense whatever, little.
The man was planned on an ample scale ; and beneath
his vigour of character was a massive framework of
qualities which give strength.
Yet it was his religion that made him. On this
point he must himself be heard, saying, as he
always did say, " By the grace of God I am what I
am." For a long course of years, in many places, and
before very diverse audiences, he was required to tell
292 JAMJSS CALVERT OF FIJI.
the history of the recovery of a whole people from
the lowest barbarism. He himself had witnessed
this recovery, and taken a large part in bringing it
about, and as noted at the beginning of this
memoir he, almost without exception, prefaced
every account of his work with a reference to his
own conversion ; and, as the present writer has said
of him elsewhere, " every part of his subsequent
career not only looked back to that starting-point,
but, to his own mind, was in immediate and
necessary connection with it. Without this key his
story is unintelligible, crowded with facts which
refuse to be accounted for." And, as of his history,
so of himself; you cannot explain him if you leave
out his faith. Giving to the term all the Methodist
meaning with which he used it, his Experience was
at the living root of all he was and all he did.
Without it he might very likely have achieved
success in business ; for he had qualities which go to
the winning of such success, being withal orderly,
punctual, pushing, and sagacious. But the man he
became, as known and loved by thousands, he never
could have been save by the transforming and
ennobling power of the Divine grace.
He had, at starting, very scanty advantages in
Lhe way of culture ; but he always spoke and wrote
his own language correctly, and secured strength
in the use of it by observing simplicity. His
THE LATER YE A PS. 293
education, like that of many men whose influence
has told for the benefit of others, was gained
chiefly from the schooling of active life, and the
discipline of circumstances. He was quick to gather,
and prompt to use any information which he could
turn to practical account. Beyond this, his zeal of
research did not extend far. Few men have been
brought into direct relation with such a wide variety
of people ; and, by the experience thus acquired, the
faculty of reading character was developed in him
to an altogether remarkable degree. And just as
remarkable was the adroit skill with which he used
his knowledge of men to influence them in the
direction he wished. In all this wisdom his one
supreme motive kept him from any loss of harmless-
ness and honesty. He sought to please men, " for
that which is good unto edifying." When occasion
of rebuke came he was direct and unflinching on
behalf of the right. Moreover, in dealing with
others, he never let them think that, in judging
them, he stood aloof from them or above them. His
warm quickness of sympathy made them know that
it was in his heart to come close to them with
brotherly help. Surely no man had in a larger
degree the most happy faculty of making the best of
everything and of everybody.
In him certain elements of force balanced each
other, which would otherwise have become conflicting.
294 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
His hearty and liberal generosity was a marked
feature ; while, on the other hand, he was exceed-
ingly keen in detecting crookedness of motive and
hard to impose upon. He was nobly unselfish, often
to his own hurt ; but he had learned by very severe
training how to turn circumstances to his own
advantage. In the fulfilment of the service of his
high calling, and whenever there was opportunity
to do good to others, he never spared himself ; but
would face any peril, and suffer any inconvenience or
privation ; yet he was wont to declare with a droll
droop of one eyebrow well known to his friends
that his policy was to take care of himself and to live
as long as possible. So, shifting the emphasis to
suit his purpose, he would quote from a familiar
Methodist hymn, and say :
" I would the precious time redeem,
And longer live. . . ."
He read well, both in regard to the quality of the
books he studied, and in the way in which he assimi-
lated and made industrious notes of their contents.
Of light literature he had no appreciation whatever.
As a preacher, he never attained to popular dis-
tinction. He contented himself with a simple,
direct, and earnest statement and enforcement of
Christian truth, never getting out of sight of the
need of actual conversion, and the possibility of
being made "substantially happy" a favourite
THE LATER YEARS. 295
phrase of his in the forgiving love of God. Of his
own happiness there could be no doubt. The light
of it shone out, so as to make a brightness round
about him wherever he went. He had known great
personal suffering, and, up to the very last, was
made to bear painful sorrow ; but his heart hid " its
own bitterness " from all but a very few ; and his
"joy in the Lord " remained undimmed. He had
the grace of hearty laughter, the bright tones of
which still ring clear in the memory of those who
knew him ; and they also love to recollect his
exceeding tenderness of heart, making his voice
break, and his eyes swim in a moment with ready
He made many friends in all the Churches, and
was faithful to them all ; and each of these counted
himself the richer for his friendship. A youthful
vivacity, the sparkle of which remained in old age,
gathered to him the affection of the young, in
whose love and friendship he greatly rejoiced.
Nothing is more certain than that you cannot
hope to form a right judgment of a man's character
until you know what he is at home. In some cases,
it is to be feared, the verdict of those who live and
look within that innermost circle would widely
differ from that of the outside world. Not so with
James Calvert. He not only showed, in the fullest
degree, the warm lovingkindness of his heart in
296 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
all family relationships, but he put his Christianity
fully into them all. Loving his children as he did,
he suffered acutely in being separated from them.
No sacrifice made for the Lord and His service
involved anything like such self-denial as did this.
His private correspondence expresses the most
solicitous care for the well-being of those beloved
ones, and his letters to them are full of the tenderest
All knew him even those who could not under-
stand all it meant all knew him to be a man of
God. Without any ostentation, he never lowered
his colours. Amongst Christian people everywhere
he was a " brother beloved " ; whilst, in intercourse
with men of all kinds, he never lost sight of the
mandate of his missionary service, and had, in a high
degree, the excellent art of inoffensively making
opportunities for the faithful advocacy of the truth.
More than one casual companion in travel has had
reason for everlasting thankfulness that it fell to his
lot to journey with James Calvert.
His faith had in it nothing of speculation. He
knew Him in whom he believed. His relation to
Christ as a Saviour was a distinct fact in his daily
consciousness, and the controlling centre of his life's
motives. He was called to face the uttermost human
degradation which sin could work, and the most
appalling difficulties in the way of setting up the
THE LATER YEARS. 297
kingdom of God. But he saw nothing that needed
to be done which was greater than that which had
already been done in his own self; and, anchored in
that sure knowledge of his own salvation, his faith,
however great the stress upon it, never drifted. He
believed, and he knew, the Gospel to be enough to
solve the hardest problems of the world's want ; and,
in this trust, he gave himself, with whole-hearted
devotion, to the preaching of Christ.
In the history of Christian missions in this cen-
tury the Church must ever glorify God for His
grace, magnified in the life and work of James
Calvert of Fiji.
The following beautiful sketch, by his oldest
surviving friend, the Rev. William Arthur, is trans-
ferred, by permission, from Work and Workers, as a
fitting close to this imperfect record.
" Five-and-fifty years ago, in the old college at
Hoxton, when I joined the company of students,
youngest of the number, a man some six years
older, yet one of my own year, was James Calvert.
He soon marked himself out as one whom the eye
must follow. And yet it would not be easy to say
why. He had no name for talents or attainments,
and made no attempts to be prominent. But every-
body knew Calvert, talked of him, liked him, and
expected him to do a good clay's work. The idea of
298 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
his idling over his Master's business, or making
shift to come fairly off by leaning for help on others,
or of his making much noise for little labour,
entered no man's head.
" Whatever else he had or had not, he had three
things grace, head, and heart. God had loved
him, redeemed him, forgiven him, and sent him
into His vineyard to do good. This, as Stringer
Rowe has said, he knew, and all his existence was
coloured accordingly. His head and his heart were
both strong ; common sense, robust and quick, with
feeling both intense and tender, backed by a vigorous
will, gave you a man of clear purpose and forcible
impulse ; prompt in decision, swift of step, ready of
speech, and capable of a tear. He was neither
eccentric, nor quite free from a vein of something
which, for moments at a time, would look like in-
dividuality coming into touch with eccentricity.
His speech was plain, short, straight, and lovingly
affected the North. If he had not been a Yorkshire
man you would have said that he ought to have
" Among the men in their first year who were much
given to open-air preaching, I seem more than any
others to recall Thomas Williams and Calvert. With
the latter I have been to Rag Fair and Shoreditch
Pump, and I think to Whitecross Street. Calvert
had a directness and simplicity which were very
THE LATER YEARS. 299
effective ; and he seemed to get right at his audience
as if they were all one, and as if he had to take no
stiff steps either down or up to find the right level.
His prayers went up with a similar directness ; he
asked in order to receive, expected to receive, and
would leave the impression that it was good to draw
nigh unto God. There were men who could preach
better than Calvert, and, as people say, ' pray better,'
who, to judge from the tone in which they would
speak of him, would have been glad to be like Calvert.
" A man in his third year was always mentioned by
us all as the most remarkable man amongst us, an ex-
ploughman, a prospective Professor of Divinity, or
whatever else the Lord might call him to be. For
his opportunities a prodigy of solid attainment, and
with his reputation a pattern of Christian modesty.
In John Hunt the grace of Grod had built up a comely
monument, the remembrance of which has always
done me good, whenever it has come back to me, in
the course of my pilgrimage ; and back it has come
full oft, in paths of the land, and of the sea. Of
Hunt, personally, I saw more at Hoxton than of
Calvert, and regarded him with profound respect and
affection, as did every one, from Father Entwisle and
Dr. Hannah down to the last of the train. Hunt
and Calvert were both to be missionaries, and Hunt,
it was generally expected, would go to South Africa.
One day, Father Entwisle, after dinner, told us of
800 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Cross and Cargill in Fiji, and of the cry, Pity Poor
Fiji, and of the intention to send out some men
forthwith. I believe many hearts then said, ' Here
am I, send me,' and I am sure that all asked, ' Who
will go ? '
" The news was soon buzzing in every study that
Hunt was to go, and Gal vert with him. The interest
of the students was intense. Few now survive to
say me yea. Some lie in Africa, some in the West
Indies, some in Canada, some in Indian or Austral-
asian graves, and some in various fields at home,
sleep the sleep of the harvestman. One white head
still rises before me, that of the comrade student of
Hunt in his third year, John Richards, who served
well both in Africa and India. Were we not there
to a man that evening, in the little old chapel
at Hackney, up a lane, to see Hunt and Calvert
ordained for their service amongst the fiercest of
the fierce, and at the very ends of the earth ? Even
the youngest could feel the solemn joy of following,
if last of the rear, in the march of a great militant
host. Hunt's solemn and commanding testimony
to the grace of God, Calvert's testimony, warm and
homely as a village boy, left upon our hearts a last
recollection of these beloved companions which
always had the double effect of knitting the soul to
the men, and of inspiring faith in the blessing which
would attend their mission.
THE LATER YEARS. 301
" When I came back from India, Cargill from Fiji
was staying at Dr. Beecham's, and by that kindly
tireside I heard from him much about Hunt and
Calvert, and took delight to think of my old com-
rade of Shoreditch Pump and Bag Fair drawing a
good bow at the battle of the cannibals. Then, after
a lapse of many years, the old quick step, the old
ringing laugh, in spite of the little dash of grey in
the hair, made the man of Fijian toils and wonders
seem only James Calvert of the Hoxton group over
again. Before they sailed I had just seen the
two comely wives. Before Calvert's return I had
looked with an interest, not to be expressed, on the
widow of his noble yokefellow, a woman worthy of
the man. Now by Calvert's side was his own Mary
Calvert, whose doings far away I had thankfully
traced, and in whose open countenance I gladly
saw the face of her brother, Philip Fowler, familiar
in Dr. Hannah's lecture room, and afterwards in
Conference. And looking on them one saw what
was not to be seen one saw the sun of the South
shining on eight letters cut in stone, JOHN HUNT ;
which eight letters, as long as suns do shine, will
make Christian souls bless the God and Redeemer
of the Lincolnshire ploughman.
" So then for many years, here and there, one met
with Calvert on platforms, in Conference, in the
houses of friends, and, best of all, now and then at
302 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
home. There were episodes in Fiji, in Africa, else-
where ; but Hoxton and Fiji were to me always the
frames in which the figure of Calvert stood before
me. Of the many homes in which we have met, like
two old boys, never making much of one another,
but for all that knowing what we meant, none seems
to return to me as a place of frequent meeting so
much as dear old Guimersbury House kindly focus
of missionary feeling, where many an exhausted
toiler warmed himself on returning, and many a one
warmed himself again before setting out for another
campaign. Surrounded by Mr., Mrs., and Miss
Farmer, and the rest of the group, how would
Calvert enjoy himself, and be enjoyed, especially
when Mrs. Calvert and his daughter Annie were
with him !
" In my own house Calvert was always as welcome
as the flowers of May. He was as much the friend
of my wife and children as my friend. Light came
with him, and useful talk of the kingdom of Christ
at home and abroad. I never told him how small I
often felt by his side when I thought of what our
common Master had wrought by his means as com-
pared with the poor track that lies behind me. In
the presence of men who had faithfully laboured in
West Africa or Fiji I always felt as if I had done
nothing in missionary sacrifice. Among servants
honoured of my Lord whom my roof has covered,
THE LATER YEARS. 303
two men stand out before me, James Calvert of Fiji,
and William Taylor, Missionary Bishop of Africa.
" My last vivid recollections of Calvert will always
hover around Stoke House, Mr. W. H. Budgett's
residence, and around the Bristol Conference of
1890, that Conference of pains and cares unequalled
since 1849. Around that hospitable board there
were three of us past threescore and ten, with three
or four younger men. Dr. Osborn is gone, James
Calvert is gone, and I wait till the wafting of a
white wing shall carry me across the stream. It was
very pleasant then to see my old friend's comfort
with the second excellent Mrs. Calvert, and right
edifying to watch his intense interest in every phase
of the solicitude of the hour, coupled with his child-
like faith in God, and sturdy common sense in the
few observations he made on men and their pro-
ceedings. The last scene which comes up, and
which will often come up, was when he entered my
room, with solemn anxiety, to report the latest news,
not calculated to comfort but to disquiet. Two old
heads were weighted with fears, and yet were lifted
up again in faith and hope, that the God of patience
and consolation would save the Connexion from
another 1849. Probably that scene will linger with
me as the last of my fellowship with James Calvert
though not actually my last interview with him.
" So he has met John Hunt, and met Richard B.
304 JAMES CALVERT OF FIJI.
Lyth, whom he so dearly loved the Doctor as he
delighted to call him and met a host of Fijian
converts, and met a gracious Master, who has said
unto him, ' Enter into My joy.' My two old
Hoxton friends have been met by many other
Hoxton friends there.
" As I sat in the morning sun a pair of sowers
passed by, going out to sow, and gave a kindly
greeting. We said the seed was good, and the men
were like their work, but the ground was nothing
but rocks and roadside, with patches of thorn and
brier. As I sit in the evening light, waiting till the
sun goes down behind the hills, I see two reapers
meeting meeting in the midst of the gold and the
crimson and the manifold glory and their sheaves
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